Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

In the Cook Islands FAO's main in-country programmes are:

Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS)

As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Cook Islands were included in a three year RPFS under an Italian Trust Fund contribution of US$4.5 million (operational from May 2004 to April 2007). The programme had two main objectives:
• to enhance production and food security through income generating activities at the country level;
• to strengthen regional and national capacity on trade facilitation and agricultural policies.
Within component one, the Cook Islands implemented a sub-project on fruit tree development.
As a result, the project has introduced new fruit varieties for bulking and distribution aimed at increasing fruit production in replacement of imports. As result of the project, a domestic fruit market study has been completed and a series of awareness programmes have been diffused in the local media.

Expansion of the Pacific Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS)

A stakeholder consultative workshop took place in Nadi, Fiji in September 2008 to further engage development partners in supporting the programme, which is now entitled Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods Programme in Pacific Island Countries (FSSLP). The goal of FSSLP is to contribute to the improvement of food security and sustainability of livelihoods of poor and vulnerable populations (especially for women and youth) in the programme countries.
Emergency Prevention System for Trans-boundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) - Animal Health Component
The Cook Islands have never reported Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) / H5N1.
The Cook Islands are included in the activities of the Avian Influenza (AI) project regional coordination of AI control and prevention in Asia; the objectives of the project are to improve control of HPAI in infected countries and to enable rapid detection of the disease in countries at risk by strengthening diagnostic and surveillance activities and through a better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease.

National Medium Term Priority Framework (NMTPF)

The Cook Islands were one of 13 countries who prepared their NMTPFs as a group exercise, with the Caribbean the first region to undertake the preparation of NMTPF's as a group. The 13 participating countries presented and discussed the NMTPFs at a regional a meeting held in St Lucia in March 2006. At a subsequent regional meeting, held in Barbados in February 2007, countries worked on prioritising the actions requested by FAO. The NMTPF's have provided useful baseline documents for planning FAO's assistance Caribbean countries. Furthermore, common elements amongst the various NMTPF's provide the platform for the development of FAO's regional programme of assistance.
The NMPTFs identify the priority focus areas for FAO support and was endorsed by the Government of the Cook Islands in May 2009 at the 8th FAO South West Ministers for Agriculture Meeting in Niue.
The following four priority outcomes were identified:
• increased agricultural production (particularly on southern group of islands) for local consumption and to meet domestic market demands;
• increased income and employment opportunities (particularly in the outer islands), through further development of aquaculture and commercial inshore fisheries;
• enhanced capacity in food processing and value adding of agriculture and fisheries products;
• strengtening data collection and management systems.

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