21 Apr 2005

Food production to the fore in French Polynesian economic blueprint

3:28 pm on 21 April 2005

One of the major policy strands in French Polynesia's economic blueprint is to free up nationally owned land for agriculture and horticulture.

President Oscar Temaru is calling for more food to be produced locally in order to lower the budget deficit.

At the moment 80 percent of food is imported into the territory, whilst local foods like taro and yams are expensive.

MP Tea Hirshon, who's a member of the coaltion government, says people will have to change their habits if they want to benefit from this new policy.

"It's logic that if we produce more then the prices should drop. But then we are also into a situation of food habits that have been changed, so we need to eat more local foods than eating frozen chicken and french fries from Idaho!"

Ms Hirshon says they also want to boost tourism and develop the aquaculture industry.