Kava ban overturn enthuses Pacific farmers

16/06/2014

Good news for the Pacific Islands kava industry at long last. <!--more-->A law court in Germany, one of its most lucrative overseas markets, has overturned a twelve-year-old ban on kava. The long-standing ban was because of fears of the root’s toxicity, a subject of much controversy down the years.

Exports of the once booming kava industry ground to a virtual halt following the ban, costing exporting islands hundreds of millions of dollars. But the lifting of the man does not necessarily mean that the industry can get back on its feet instantly. Experts estimate it might take as many as three to five years before a reliable export supply chain is re-established.

Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, Chairman of the International Kava Executive Council, told Radio New Zealand International last week, “Now we … have to work with our farmers to rebuild and get supply production up again in order to support the markets. At the moment there is still supplies ready, available now, but not in the quantities that the market we anticipate will require.”

“Now that the stigma has been removed, we’ve now got an alternative market from the EU and the US market, we now have the Chinese and the Indian markets, and likewise other Eastern Asian countries,” Mr Wilson told the radio station.

However, Kava growers are being warned that the trade is still at risk because of serious problems with the quality of kava being traded. The International Kava Executive Council says it has been working with Pacific farmers and governments to adopt a regional standard for kava production and processing, according to Radio New Zealand International.

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