Policy, Planning and Project Department

Agriculture Policy

While the Food and Agriculture Sector Master Plan 2030 is still under public consultation, the Ministry Vision remains the:

Becoming a Food Secure Nation through the empowerment of producers to substitute food import dependence, grow nutritional food while increasing domestic supply and livelihoods and focus on supporting future exports and trade potentials

The new Vision statement of intent however focuses on turning the sector around from high level chemical inputs farming systems and the struggle against imported foods towards agro-ecological driven farming systems geared mainly towards regaining the local markets and engaging with the future generations.

It is composed of four short but strong key element statements:

  • Healthy soils,
  • Healthy foods
  • Local and appropriate,
  • Sustaining our common livelihoods,

It also reflects the overall commitments made by the Cook Islands in its various environment and climate change programs towards implementing “sustainable agriculture”

Our Policy

The Ministry of Agriculture is developing its Sector Plan called the (Food and Agriculture Sector Master Plan 2030) as the overarching framework for current and new policies in the making. The intention of the sector plan is to give stronger foundation on how best policy can facilitate in achieving its goals, target best opportunities and provide transparent problem solving procedures. As we await this exciting framework to come into play, the Sector plan 2030 is currently developed through vigorous consultation process fed from farmers and growers of the nation by the Pa Enua of the Northern group and the Southern group Islands. Industries like the Nono (noni) associations, specialized farmers in specific crop intensification, to market vendors, part-time, subsistence and commercial growers, livestock farmers, retailers and wholesalers, traditional leaders, government stakeholders and non government organisations are making enormous contributions in shaping our National Agriculture Plan for the next 10 years. While we are guided under the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) as the aspirations for Cook Islands, we also reflect to best practices under the government financial policies and procedures manual as well the Public Service Act 2009. Our regional partners with the assistance of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is working closely with the Ministry to ensure our policies are robust enough for donor assistance aligned to our country strategic development targets, intentions and commitments.

The Ministry of Agriculture has three policy levels:

    1. Strategic Policy: For many years the Ministry strategic policy has been implemented with the absent of its own national sector master plan. Because of this, it has been difficult to ensure that the impacts of those priorities of intent could justify its long term commitments. For the first time this level of policy is taking shape so that the commitment of government for the next ten years for Agriculture will now be realized. The strategic policies for the Ministry of Agriculture are currently underpinned by the National Sustainable Development Plan implemented under the Ministry of Agriculture Business Plan. There are a total of 5 outputs guided under a number of strategic outcomes as part of its deliverables to be achieved. These outputs are the; Output 1: Crop Research and Development. Output 2: Bio-Security. Output 3: Livestock. Output 4:Policy Planning and Projects, and the Output 5: Corporate Services and Administration.
Department Strategic Objectives:
The following departmental strategic objectives give perspective on each division roles and responsibilities

Crop and Research:
Lead in developing crop vegetable research development towards improving environmental, health wellbeing and sustaining our natural resources and ecosystems while exploiting profitable and sustainable trade opportunities.

Lead to protect the Cook Islands boarders from regulated pests and diseases through surveillance, monitoring and prevention of spread, eradication and facilitate safe importation of any biological consignment that can be harmful to animals, plants and human beings and the environment.

Lead to encourage social and economic livestock production for sustainable livelihoods through embedding knowledge and the prevention of Cook Islands borders from animal zoonotic disease incursion.

Policy, Planning and Projects:
Lead in developing, instituting and implementing agricultural policies founded on evidence base intelligence for increasing sustainable food security and nutrition, economic farming, livelihoods and entrepreneur advancement and industry growth.

Corporate Services and Administration:
Strive to employ effective administration and fiscal accounts and human resource management.

  • Program Policy: There are a number of policy documentations that describes the actions that will be taken to achieve the Ministry priorities of services and product development. There is now emphasis to translate those program policies into an effective usable and friendly manner where stakeholders and partners with invested interest in these documents take ownership to play a responsible role for monitoring the effectiveness of those policies. While these documents are to some level need thorough reviewing, the Ministry is focusing user friendly policy documents like the Punanga Nui Market policy and the Land Use Policy to be translated from English to Maori language to help ease understanding of all levels. With the assistance of SPC, these policy programs will provide effective awareness as to the way program policies are designed with inputs from public consultations, governed by stakeholders and partners, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and stakeholders. We can now appreciate that most of the Ministry program policy are guided by best practices and accountability assurances; we are often reminded of the principles of the Cook Islands Government Financial Policies and Procedures Manual (CIGFPPM) as it is expected of the public services. This manual constantly been reviewed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) and updated for and on behalf of all public service as well the Public Service Act.
  • Operational Policy: Operational policies are specific with precise scope from Ministry staff personnel policies, to code of conduct, then to operational policies that address the implementation of specific operational tasks the Ministry has to perform. An example of these specific operational tasks is the Pa Enua Bio-Security policy manual, or the Food Security Cluster policy manual for disaster preparedness at times of emergencies and its program to combat climate change in terms of building resilience to climate change and food security and nutrition. These policies guides our staff authorities in their line of duty on Rarotonga and the Outer Islands for decision making and procedures that sets out a course of action for specific circumstances. These policies allows us to be: 1. Proactive and precise in the delivery of our actions. 2. Help in dealing with complicated situations with sound judgement. 3. Guide the right course of action for specific situations. 4. Able to provide the right information to problematic situations. 5. Manage risks.


Please do not hesitate to contact the Policy, Planning and Projects Division should you have any questions about the Ministry of Agriculture policy. Email Us