Climate change affects agriculture in a number of ways, including changes in average and extreme temperatures, rainfall, the intensity of climate events (e.g., cyclones); changes in pests and diseases; and changes in sea level causing salt water intrusion into low lying agriculture areas.
In recent decades, changes in rainfall distribution have begun to influence the availability of various crops in the Cook Islands. This has implications, particularly in the outer islands, for food security and economic viability.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Cook Islands’ independence, and the 40th anniversary of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Cook Islands’ campus, Climate Change Cook Islands and the USP is co-hosting two forums on climate change and the implications for agriculture in the Cook Islands. These forums focus on concerns and actions for islands in the northern and southern groups, incuding Rarotonga.
The first forum was held on Tuesday, 7th July 2015 at the USP Cook Islands' Campus.
The forum was chaired by Mata Hetland and John Hay.
Patrick Arioka paid tribute to the achievements of the many pioneers of the earlier years of Cook Islands' agriculture, when it was the backbone of the Nation. He also invited participants to enjoy and acknowledge the good work of those who have used methodology approaches with strong systematic results, based on evidence.
Other speakers in the first of the two forums are shown below.
Following the presentations there was an active and well informed discussion.