18 Nov 2014

Cook Islands tackles reliance on imports

7:12 am on 18 November 2014

The Cook Islands Secretary of Agriculture says young people must be encouraged to get involved in local food and vegetable production if the country is to stop relying on imported produce.

Matairangi Purea's comments follow the release of an International Food and Agriculture Organisation report looking at ways to help revitalise the country's agriculture production.

The report reveals over the past 20 years the consumption of imported food in the Cook Islands has doubled, while the amount and value of exports has plummeted.

Dr Purea says finding ways to inspire more young people to get involved in local agriculture is a top priority.

"We need to encourage our young ones, even though they are not keen, but we have to come up with a strategy to work around it, otherwise we will depend on imported food all the time."

Matairangi Purea says many young people are more interested in working in the Cook Islands' tourism industry.