There is strict control on what to import into the country as a measure to protect our pristine environment. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is working with the local farmers, importers to help prevent introduction of unwanted pests and diseases into the Cook Islands. The increased global volume in trade and increased movement of people is placing huge pressure on our biosecurity system. Before you import, you need to know or make sure that what you bring is allowed to be imported in particular plant, plant product, animal, animal product or any regulated article.
The growth in Tourism, together with increased employment opportunities in a cash economy slightly shifted focus from export to the local market created by the increase tourist numbers visiting Cook Islands. This has also created agricultural produce import opportunities for Hotels and Supermarkets due to inconsistency and insufficient local supplies, hence the increase in imports of foreign produce.
A permit to import is required from the Director for Biosecurity Service for live animal importation into the Cook Islands. Animals permitted entry will be only from the list specified in section A1-6 of the import specification. Before any export of live animals they must undergo a pre animal health treatment which will be specified on the import health standard that will be attached to the import permit. All live animals to be imported will only be landed in Rarotonga.
Biosecurity control for importation of nursery stocks requires an import permit which the importer must apply to the Director for Biosecurity. An Import Health Standard provides the phytosanitary requirements for all imported nursery stock.