A Rarotonga-based supermarket has received fresh supplies of sea grapes and corn from Aitutaki farmers.
Prime Foods Supermarket has reached out to Pa Enua farmers for perishable fruits and vegetables in a bid to minimise import from New Zealand following a major increase in air freight charges.
The supermarket has been working closely with local growers from Aitutaki, in collaboration with Climate Change Cook Islands, Ministry of Agriculture, Business Trade and Investment Board, the Aitutaki island government and community.
Climate Change Cook Islands last month completed a survey to capture the demand and quality of agriculture produce on Aitutaki.
Over 240 surveys based on market enterprise, household and agriculture access (Market Access Initiative) were completed for its Farm to Table - Pa Enua Action for Resilient Livelihoods (PEARL) Project.
Project manager Melina Tuiravakai said this was an opportunity for them to facilitate a meeting with suppliers, buyers and government supporting agencies in the Pa Enua.
The initiative was a private, public partnership to strengthen the resilience of the Pa Enua communities in food security under the PEARL Project.
“The Market Access Initiative was first discussed as a lesson’s learned from the Adaptation Fund Strengthening the Resilience of our Islands and our Communities to Climate Change (SRIC-CC) Project and to be expanded and implemented in the PEARL programme,” Tuiravakai said.
This would assist in strengthening and contributing to the economic resilience of the communities in the Pa Enua, she added.
The survey was related to farmers’ agricultural productions of crops and livestock – an enterprise survey to capture demand of agriculture products/produce, and market survey to capture the quantity and value of agriculture produce sold. It also looked at opportunities to increase the consumption of local fruits and vegetables amongst Cook Islanders and reduce imported foods/import substitution.
Director of Climate Change Cook Islands, Wayne King said they would also work with other buyers to also support the Market Access Initiative.