Monday, April 07, 2008

EU Funds Study To Help Ailing Black Pearl Industry


The European Union has earmarked some US$5.8 million as part of a plan to reform and boost French Polynesia's ailing black pearl industry, Maritime Resource Minister Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu announced late last week.

The scheme is part of the EU's 9th EDF (European Development Fund), which initially covered the 2002-2007 period, Maamaatuaiahutapu told reporters.

The project, which is scheduled to run over a three-year period from 2008 to 2010), involves on-site training by roving experts for black pearl farmers, with a particular focus on quality control and productivity.

Another facet of the project concerns a survey on the state of the international market opportunities for French Polynesian black pearls.

Once completed, the survey would give rise to recommendations on how the industry, which has been facing tough competition from neighboring Cook Islands and even Fiji, should rethink its international marketing strategy.