26 Sep 2011

Investing in agriculture could stem migration from the Cook Islands

6:24 am on 26 September 2011

The Cook Islands government hopes its investment in agriculture will encourage people to stay in the country.

The Director of research at the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to report to parliament this week after the agriculture minister led a delegation of farmers and politicans to French Polynesia last month.

A variety of farming practices were observed and the research director, William Wigmore, will summarise the lessons learnt.

Mr Wigmore says investing in farming could make the Cook Islands far more self-sufficient in food production.

"At the same time our people are moving away from the islands. Migrating to the main island of Raratonga and a lot end up going down to New Zealand and also onto Australia. And that's one of the things they do in Tahiti to maintain their people in the outer islands they encourage agricultural production there."

The Director of research at the Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture William Wigmore.

Tahiti has also encouraged the Cook Islands to increase production of vanilla which it will take and re-export to satisfy a growing international demand.