Cooks Receive $1.5M Chinese Ag Machinery Gift

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Hope to boost agricultural exports

By Phillipa Webb

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, October 23, 2015) – The government’s hopes of returning the Cook Islands to the days of flourishing agricultural exports has been placed in the hands of $1.5 million worth of Chinese machinery.

A signing of letters of exchange and handover ceremony for Chinese-funded agriculture equipment took place at Constitution Park yesterday morning.

A range of tractors as well as special mulching equipment and fertiliser has been donated by the People’s Republic of China.

Four technicians have come with a Chinese delegation visiting the island this week and will spend time assembling the machines and training the operators.

All machines apart from one, which will be used by the Ministry of Agriculture, will go to the Pa Enua.Deputy Prime Minister Teariki Heather thanked China for the special gift and said it was now up to the people of the Cook Islands to make sure the equipment was taken care of.

He said he also wanted to see reports on the condition of the $10 million worth of Chinese machinery and other equipment handed over in a special ceremony at the start of this year.

Minister of Agriculture Kiriau Turepu said he hoped the new tractors would mean a growth in local agricultural production and added food security for the country.

Special Envoy for China-Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue, Du Qiwen was animated in his handover of the machinery at the ceremony.

"The Chinese, like the people in the Cook Islands are very hard working and down-to-earth people.

"We believe that what counts is what works, and what works is what counts, so we do hope that the machinery will be put to good use and could help the farmers in the rural communities."

Qiwen and his delegates will sign a Letter of Exchange for the Apii Nikao School rebuild project with Prime Minister Henry Puna this morning

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