AROUND 100 vendors attended a consultation at the Punanga Nui market this week involving a market policy review. Ministry of Agriculture Patrick Arioka said the review aimed to update the market’s administration and management policies and to look at market efficiency, regulatory responsibilities, strategies and long term sustainability plans. He said two sessions were held.

The first involved the vendors who sell from shelters and the second session was for hut owners. “It’s a strategy we have used to be transparent in showing our accounts, finances, policy, issues and constraints and a lot of the vendors were surprised with what we presented,” Arioka said. “It is the fi rst time we have looked at development strategy for the vendors and the market and this will be policy for them for in the next 10 years.” Arioka said the market was already generating a lot of revenue and plans needed to be put in place for the vendors to be prepared for the future. “We don’t have the resources right now and who knows what will happen in the next few years? But these policies will help the vendors.”

By June or July the new policy will be advised to the vendors and once they accept its recommendations, it will be taken to Cabinet for endorsement. Once mandated it will be a positive step up for development of the market, says Arioka.

The consultation workshop is supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Punanga Nui market authority, the Ministry of Health, Infrastructure Cook Islands and the Business Trade and Investment Board. – Losirene Chand (Story courtesy of CI News – http://www.cookislandsnews.com/)