The MOU was signed on Thursday at the Agriculture minister Rose Brown’s office in Avarua.
Assistant agriculture minister Patrick Arioka said the MOU would allow them to work closely with respective agriculture departments under each island administration as well as with the island councils.
He said through this agreement, the ministry would be able to help the Pa Enua with their existing agriculture programmes.
It would also give the southern islands support and ensure farmers and growers had the opportunity to access resources as well as financial support in developing their agriculture programmes. “We want to make sure that we are able to capture their programmes and have that clearly aligned under our development programme as a nation that is captured under the National Sustainable Development Plan – this means we are all working for the same thing and we’re all achieving the same goal,” Arioka said. “Under the NSDP, we as a ministry are required to meet certain production demands that indicates that we are achieving our goals. It’s not only about Rarotonga, it has to be about the country as a whole and this MOU will allow us to achieve that.”
In the past, Arioka said the system between the ministry and agriculture departments in the Pa Enua had been on a “request” basis.
He said these requests were not well coordinated and there were no linkages to any development programme that the country had set.
“We have engaged through the MOU arrangement to allow us to make those connections so when projects are put in place, (they have) the technical support and the financial support. It works towards making sure that the agriculture sector in the Pa Enua is sustainable, working towards building livelihoods, building small agriculture businesses and supporting our tourism industry,” Arioka said.
“We are looking in years ahead to support tourism on Rarotonga because this is where we have to play a major role in the economy.
“Therefore this MOU is timely. And three years down the line, it’s going to be an interesting period to try and build up the agriculture sector in Pa Enua.”