The first Census of Agriculture in the Cook Islands was conducted in 1988 and the second in 2000. The 2011 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries (CAF 2011) is the third agricultural census to be conducted in the country.
The Cook Islands consists of 15 islands with a land area of 237 square kilometres scattered over 2 million square kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean. The islands are split geographically into the Northern Group and the Southern Group. The main island, and seat of Government, is Rarotonga in the Southern Group. It is also the single largest island with a land area of 67 square kilometres and a resident population of 10,572 (CoPD 2011). Other islands in the Southern Group have good transport and communications links and all lie within 150 nautical miles of Rarotonga. The Northern Group, on the other hand, with a combined population of 1,112 persons (CoPD 2011) are not only physically very small but lie some considerable distance from Rarotonga, the furthest being Penrhyn some 737 nautical miles away. Here transport and communications links are much less developed than for the Southern Group making census and survey taking that much more difficult.
The first Census of Agriculture (CoA) in the Cook Islands was conducted in 1988 and the second in 2000. Both censuses were supported technically by FAO. The Cook Islands also has a long history of population census taking at 5-yearly intervals in years ending in 1 and 6. Traditionally the Census of Population and Dwellings (CoPD) has included questions on agricultural activity at the household level, types of crops grown, livestock numbers, farm machinery and involvement in fishing and pearl farming activities.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The scope of the study was agriculture including irrigation, land use and nurseries.
Agriculture & Rural Development
Forests & Forestry
Land (policy, resource management)
The statistical unit, the holding, was defined as recommended in the WCA 2010. An "agriculturally active household" was defined as a household with a level of agricultural activity that was neither subsistence only, subsistence with cash cropping nor commercial-producer. Along with the holdings in the household sector, commercial agricultural enterprises were also covered in the CAR.
Producers and sponsors
Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Statistics Office (CISO)
Food and Agriculture Organization
a. Methodological modality for conducting the census
The classical approach was used for the CAF 2011. Agriculture-related data were collected through both the CAF and the CPD 2011. There were two separate teams of supervisors and enumerators, one for the CPD and another for the CAF. In each Enumeration Area (EA), the CPD was first conducted and the households engaged in agriculture and fishing activities were identified. The list of households engaged in agriculture and fishing, identified during the CPD, was passed to the CAF team, which then visited these households to complete the CAR. The northern group of islands presented a particular challenge for data collection, because they are sparsely populated and are only accessible by boat. For this reason, the CAF enumeration was conducted simultaneously with the CPD, with the two censuses sharing transport costs.
The CPD and the CAF used the EAs for the allocation of households and work areas. The list of households engaged in agriculture and fishing activities identified during the CPD served as a frame for the CAF 2011. The complete enumeration method was used to conduct the CAF 2011.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
PAPI was used to collect the census data.
Five questionnaires were used in the CAF 2011 to capture the information pertaining to agricultural, fishing, and pearl farming activities of the household:
(i) a household form;
(ii) a parcel form (for agriculturally active households with a holding area of at least 64 m2);
(iii) a livestock form;
(iv) a fishing form; and
(v) a pearl farming form.
Part 1 – Business details
Part 2 – Land use
Part 3 – Pasture seed production
Part 4 – Hay and silage
Part 5 – Cereal, sugar cane, cotton and other crops
Part 6 – Nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf
Part 7 – Vegetables for seed
Part 8 – Vegetables for sale for human consumption
Part 9 – Grapevines
Part 10 – Fruit trees, nut trees, plantation or berry fruit
Part 11 – Land preparation and maintenance for crops
Part 12 – Land preparation and management for pastures
Part 13 – Ownership and agistment of livestock
Part 14 – Beekeeping
Part 15 – Irrigation and water use
Part 16 – Organic and bio-dynamic certification
Part 17 – Land use in multiple shires
Part 18 – Leased land or sharefarming
Part 19 – Future intentions
Part 20 – Comments and time taken
The questionnaires covered 14 of the 16 core items2 recommended by FAO.
a. DATA PROCESSING AND ARCHIVING
Following the data collection exercise, the census questionnaires were checked, edited, coded and prepared for scanning. Scanning technology for data capture was used in the CISO for the first time for the CPD 2011 and the CAF 2011. The tabulation was done using Microsoft Excel and Access.
b. CENSUS DATA QUALITY
A Post-enumeration Survey (PES) was carried out in selected EAs on Rarotonga and Aitutaki to evaluate some of the key data items. Data from the PES were compared with the data from the CAF and CPD. However, the results of the CAF 2011 and the CPD 2011, insofar as they relate to agricultural activity, are not comparable due to definitional differences.
The census reports were made available to the public through the websites of the MoA and the CISO.
Ministry of Finance and Economic Management
Cook Islands Statistics Office (CISO)
Address: P.O. Box 120, Avarua, Rarotonga
Telephone: (+682) 29511
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