The Nikao Growers Association has received a timely boost to acquire much needed materials to help improve the productivity of its members.

The association received financial support from The Tindall Foundation and acquired fencing and waratah poles to be sold to its members at a reasonable price.

The support was made possible through the help of Charlie Inggs, a Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), volunteer working for Infrastructure Cook Islands.He worked with the association and followed through with the application for the special financial support.

Through the Foundation’s support, the Nikao Growers Association bought40 rolls of fencing and 1000 poles.

At a special blessing ceremony of the materials held at Papa Tearoa Tini’s residence at Nikao last week, many of the planters were overwhelmed at the help they had been given.

The blessing ceremony was conducted by the assistant Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) pastor for Nikao, Papa Vai Peua. Association secretary Simiona Teiotu said the planters were excited and could not wait to buy their fence and poles.

He said the materials would help growers who had been complaining about wandering animals and wild chickens destroying their crops, “Mama Kafo Tuteru, who has a small garden, fell victim to incidents where her arrowroot (maniota) plantation and crops were destroyed by wandering animals and chickens,” Teiotu said.

“The growers using the fencing will refund the cost to generate a revolving fund to buy more materials for the Nikao Growers Association.

VSA is a New Zealand charity and 90 per cent of its funds come from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. VSA, which administers The Tindall Grant Fund, sends professional volunteers to help economic development and government agencies in the Pacific and Timor Leste.

The fund is for small projects, connected to and recommended by VSA volunteers in the field. The projects are for community and voluntary groups which have a community benefit.

The Tindall Foundation’s focus is on supporting initiatives that enhance sustainable economic development in the Pacific Island countries where VSA has a presence, including the Cook Islands.

The Nikao Growers project is the first Tindall Foundation project to have been set up in the Cook Islands since VSA re-established its presence here in 2015.

Story by Rashneel Kumar, Cook Islands News