Cook Islands closer to restarting pawpaw exports


<p style="text-align: justify;">The Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture has this week received full certification approval for the High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) plant, which had failed to qualify to the New Zealand Government’s quarantine standards last year, affecting the country’s pawpaw exports.<!--more--></p>

[caption id="attachment_3946" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Cook Islands Pawpaw"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-3946" title="Pawpaw" src="" alt="" width="300" height="200" /></a>[/caption]
<p style="text-align: justify;">The re-certification means that pawpaw exports will be restarting in the next few months. The ministry will be conducting a survey of all pawpaw plots in the next couple of weeks to determine how many cartons could be readied for exports. Sources from Rarotonga told <strong>Pacific Periscope</strong> that exports should re-start around June this year.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Last year’s pawpaw produce was almost entirely absorbed in the domestic market because of the failure of the heat treatment plant because the peak coincided with the year’s tourist arrivals at the time. In October last year, the ministry held a meeting at the heat treatment facility to inform farmers on the status of the HTFA saying that the plant had been set right and was close to being re-certified, as reported in <strong>Pacific Periscope</strong>.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“The re-certification of HTFA is great news for Cook Islands’ agriculture exports,” Ratu Mato, the Cook Islands Business Trade &amp; Investment Bureau’s Business Development Manager told <strong>Pacific Periscope</strong> in an email.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Meanwhile, PT&amp;I Auckland is gearing to help Cook Islands pawpaw exporters re-establish markets in a once lucrative market for the fruit, once exports restart. The decline in availability of pawpaw from the Cook Islands has resulted in pawpaw from other countries like the Philippines filling in the gap.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“This is certainly exciting news for the Cook Islands pawpaw industry as it re-enters the NZ market. We have engaged into some good dialogue with some of the NZ distributors where we would like to ensure a return to regular and consistent supplies of the fruit. We at PT&amp;I along with the support of the distributors will be doing our best to ensure sustainability for the pawpaw growers and the industry,” says Mona Mato, PT&amp;I’s Auckland based Trade &amp; Export Services Manager.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"></p>