New Kava By-Law targets control of kava bar construction

Kava operators or any citizen who wishes to operate a kava bar within the jurisdiction of Port Vila municipality, will have to apply to construct the kava bar.

This order is in accordance to a new By-Law of the Port Vila Municipality Council, which was made in reference to Section36 of the Municipality Act [CAP 126], purposely to provide control of construction of kava bars.

Owners and operators are to submit their application in a form approved by the council, including the prescribed application fee.

The plan and specifications of the kava bar are required to be submitted.

Once the application is approved and kava bar is constructed, the owner or operator must inform the council for inspection. If the owner fails to comply with the approved plan and specifications, the kava bar must not operate until the plan and specifications are complied with.

A certificate of compliance will be issued to the owner by the council once the council is satisfied with the kava bar.

All the kava bars must also meet the standards of cleanliness and hygienic conditions.

This include; Kava bars must have at least one pour-flash toilet or proper flush toilet to carry away wastes; premises must be clean and tidy at all times; kava bar premises shall be provided with a sink and running water connected to it; availability of stools, must have a proper constructed cooked food stalls, employees of kava bars must wear clean clothes and observe hygienic practices whilst serving their customers.

A Municipal warden, a police officer or any individual authorised by the council will enforce this law.

Failure to comply with the by-law is guilty of an offence and will pay a fine not exceeding Vt100, 000, and Vt1, 000 for each day the person continues to commit the offence or for a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years.

This law has been gazetted.

Nikaura Kava Farmer’s Association Established

The Nikaura Kava Farmer’s Association (NKFA) was established last month (April 9, 2021) purposely to unite kava farmers of Nikaura.

This is an outcome of an awareness on kava processing products conducted by the Departments of Trade and Agriculture. 

“The NKFA consists of eight members representing the eight tribes within the communities of Varsu Area Council on Epi island.

“Our immediate task is to know the population of each communities and to identify how many young people who have the energy to grow more kava.

“Energetic young farmers will be the ones leading the mass production of kava using available farming tools and data will be collected on the quantity planted from January to May 2021.

“Community labour will be used to grow kava and an available fund of NKFA is placed for any kava farmer to borrow and refund later,” Kava farmer and secretary of NKFA, Lui Kora stated.

Kora said currently kava farmers are encouraged to go into value adding of kava products.

“To enable farmers to enter into producing kava as a business, farmers must increase production of Vanuatu noble kava varieties,” he said.

“The production and quantity of kava plants produced at the farm will indicate to the government that Nikaura kava farmers are ready to venture into developing the kava industry on Epi island.”

The kava farmer added, “Kava, a well- known commodity is a long- term investment and a source of income for many farmers on Epi over the past years until today.

“Epi kava farmers have grown different noble varieties apart from growing Epi noble kava of kelai.

“Most farmers are selling green kava around Epi island and even accessing market opportunities in Port Vila and Luganville, Santo.”

Kava is Vanuatu’s Green Gold

Walter Isaiah is a lead kava farmer on South East Ambrym who has invested in kava production in 2015, after his engagement with seasonal workers program abroad since 2010.

Kava farmer Isaiah has decided to remain in his home village Moru, to grow kava as one of the main cash crops in Vanuatu on a 5-hectare land.

He has harvested most of his kava plants and replanted to increase his production of kava.

Farmer Isaiah recently supplied part of the 3,000 kava planting materials to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). This was distributed to the 22 communities of Paama island.

“I have over 5,000 kava plants in my kava plantation,” he said.

“A local buyer in Port Vila usually charter flights to South East Ambrym to purchase kava from kava farmers at a price of VT 850 per kilo.

“Currently my income is derived mainly from selling kava so I will continue to grow kava.

“Market opportunities for kava is still a challenge for many farmers and the approach by the DARD to purchase kava branches at the farm gate is an opportunity for me as a rural farmer to earn an income to support my families.”

Farmer Isaiah added “It will be a great opportunity for many farmers if the DARD purchases kava branches from South East Ambrym to be distributed to other islands who wish to invest in mass kava production.

“I would like to encourage young people to grow kava and those already in the kava industry to continue to increase production.

“I will continue to grow kava as Vanuatu’s green gold,” he concluded.

Kava processing project proposed for Pentecost

Pentecost chiefs have welcomed the proposed construction of a kava processing on their island.

Chief Olivier Tabi from Ilamre village when presenting a traditional Pentecost red mat to the Minister of Trade, James Bule, told the minister that people are tired of failed government promises.

He told Mr Bule that the project is a good project but he is a “doubting Thomas”, like that in the Bible.

The Chief said that he will only believe when the project is fulfilled.

Mr Bule launched the kava processing factory at Lese area, Central Pentecost, during his official visit on the island last week.

The ceremony was marked by the erecting of a stone where the site to build the factory should be.

This was followed by a pig-killing ceremony by the Minister.

The kava factory is a long-time dream for the farmers on Pentecost, an island well known regionally and internationally for its original variety known as Borogo.

Since the commercialization of the traditional drink in the early ‘80s by the well known businessman, Late Charlot Longwah, farmers have struggled to bring their product for sale in Port Vila and Luganville.

The construction of the factory on the island should bring an end to the struggle of farmers and enable them to make more income out of their products.

Currently with the sale of raw green kava, farmers are getting less monies than processed one.

One kilogram of green is currently sold at 300 to 1,000 vatu per kilo and dried kava is sold at 4,000 vatu a kilo.

Chief Tabi urged Minister Bule that people of Pentecost want to see finished product and direct export from their island.

The factory will also end the difficulties faced by the farmers when they come to Port Vila to sell their products.

Travelling to urban centres with the kava for sale by either a father or mother has led to social problems such as theft, where the kava money raised was stolen, and even divorce when being sidetracked by what the towns have to offer.

One of the farmers from Pentecost was found dead at Nambatu Lagoon while he was in Port Vila to sell his kava in order to get his wife to deliver their first child.

After Vanuatu’s Independence in 1980, the only people drinking kava in Port Vila at that time were from Pentecost and Tanna, until the commercialization of the product by late Logwah.

Currently kava is planted on the other islands like Efate and consumed on all islands of Vanuatu.

Kava plays an important part in Vanuatu’s economy.

There are about 1,000 kava bars in Port Vila providing over 1,000 jobs.

Known scientifically as Piper Methysticum and also known as Vanuatu Green Gold, kava is one the main commodities of Vanuatu which is exported to New Caledonia, Fiji and United State as dried kava.

There are currently kava bars in New York.

Law to protect Vanuatu kava

Vanuatu’s Intellectual Property Office is undertaking public consultation on a draft bill to protect the quality and cultural and commercial value of Vanuatu kava.

The office, which is part of the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industries and Tourism, is discussing a draft Geographical Indication (Kava) Bill with kava farmers in the leading kava producing islands of Santo, Ambae, Pentecost, Maewo and Malekula.

The draft bill which aims to protect kava consumers and the intellectual property rights of kava producers and operators should go before Parliament at the end of this year and if passed will become law.

The term ‘geographical indication’ refers to a sign or mark being placed on a product that shows the goods originate from a particular province, island or locality within Vanuatu.

The sign or mark would be applied to products where the specific quality, reputation or other characteristics of the goods rely heavily on their geographical origin.

John Stephen Huri, the Intellectual Property Office’s Senior Intellectual Property Officer, says the Geographical Indication Bill will eventually cover other Vanuatu products, such as handicrafts, but the Government wants to start with the protection of kava.

He says the law would protect and help to promote kava varieties that originate from specific areas in Vanuatu.

“For example, the Melomelo Kava species originates on Vanuatu’s Ambae Island,” Mr Huri said.

“You can plant it in Santo and sell it, but it will be classified as a mixed noble variety in the market, not as pure Melomelo kava.

“That’s because under a Geographical Indication Law, only kava grown on Ambae could be called Melomelo kava.”

“The law would mean only kava farmers from Ambae could sell Melomelo kava.”

 Mr Huri says if the law is introduced in Vanuatu, buyers and sellers will be able to identify the origin or source of a kava variety.

 “It will also allow producers of kava species that are sought after by global markets to sell their particular kava species at higher, more competitive prices,” he said.

‘The law will protect the sale of kava species originating from a particular area to ensure only producers from that area can be involved in its marketing and sale.”

The Intellectual Property Office says the Boroguru Kava species from Pentecost is a good example of a product that would be protected under the new law.

Boroguru Kava has become one of the world’s top-selling kava species.

“Kava identified as Boroguru Kava must originate on Pentecost,” Mr Huri said.

“We have been discussing with kava farmers on Santo, the importance of identifying kava as having been grown on Santo, so it can be branded and sold as Santo kava.

 “This new law will allow us to brand kava species, so consumers or importers will be able to identify that a product is, for example, Santo kava.”

Jack Antfalo, the Vice Chairman of the South Santo Area Two Kava Farmers Association, says two kava varieties have been grown for centuries in their region -the Pala rasul and Chambir species.

Mr Antfalo supports the Government consultation with kava farmers on the draft bill.

 “I would also like this draft bill to assist with the control of prices of both green and dry kava products to ensure buyers don’t mess with the farmers on kava prices,” he said.

 In Vanuatu’s existing Kava Act 2020, 12 noble varieties of Vanuatu kava are permitted to be sold in local and export markets.

France contributing to structuration of Vanuatu’s Kava industry

Dr Vincent Lebot introduces quality-testing procedures of Kava to the French Ambassador to Vanuatu & Salomon Islands, Mr. Pierre Fournier.

With Kava representing 80% of Vanuatu’s exportations to New Caledonia and the whole industry of Kava in Vanuatu producing and commercializing about 250 tons of kava a year, the need to offer the best insurances in terms of quality has become a public-health imperative for Caledonian authorities and a strategic commercial stake for Vanuatu’s Kava-exporters.

 

The regional trade of kava-related products now approximating 6,000 tons a year, so the need to define internationally-recognized standards in terms of quality has become dire. Thanks to the help of France, Vanuatu has now been able to define and integrate into the Codex Alimentarius of the FAO/WHO its own regional standards.

 

France and New Caledonia have jointly supported a project that resulted in the analysis of 1053 samples collected by Vanuatu’s Department of Biosecurity. At the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Dr Vincent  Lebot from VARTC has lead a practical research project entitled “Quality and Security of the Kava Industry”. The project has benefited from the Regional Cooperation Convention (RCC), a mechanism that allows France, New Caledonia and Vanuatu to jointly pursue cooperation projects of regional importance. Every year, the three parties commonly select projects which are being financed on a par by Paris and Nouméa. The next call for projects will be in March and will be publicized on the Facebook page and Internet site of the French embassy in Vanuatu.

 

In order to make sure that only products of the highest quality are being exported to foreign markets, the project has allowed Vanuatu to test the chemical composition of all samples selected. The aim is detect levels of kavalactones — which is basically the component that consumers enjoy – and flavokawains – which, on the contrary, is potentially dangerous for the health of consumers. A specific colour test has been developed with the aim of easily identifying Kavas that contain the highest amount of the undesired flavokawains.

 

Throughout the project, DARD and VARTC have been able to train Vanuatu’s exporters and New Caledonia’s importers to the best agricultural and trade practices. Four members of the Vanuatu Bureau of Standards have also contributed to the development of the testing procedures and the results of the research have been made largely available to the main actors of the industry and internationally. Overall, the study has proven that most products are of a good quality. Room for improvement has been identified and the actors of the industry have been made aware of the areas where they need to concentrate in order to insure that only the best quality products are being exported abroad.

Kava-Quality testing procedures at all the Food Quality Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD): The team has developed chemical testing procedures that are now considered to constitute the region.

Kava samples that have been tested during the project: more than 80% of products exported to New Caledonia have proven to to be the highest standards.

KAVA FARMS FLOURISHING

So good to see our local kava farms flourish.

Some pictures from the traditional Kava gardens from the middle bush of Espiritu Santo – Vanuatu, from which, we wish you an excellent year 2021! 
Stay relax & be happy even if it might have been hard recently wherever you are.

Our local farmers are working hard for are better future and we are proud of all their commitments & efforts. Keeping our kava culture stronger each year as we grow into bigger kava markets around the world.

Calls for a Covid ‘kava bubble’ as supply from Pacific to Australia dries up

With little of the homemade Pacific brew available in Australia, prices have skyrocketed, and there’s been a spike in seizures at the border

The questions are asked quietly, but urgently: “Kava, do you have any? Do you know where to get any? Have you heard what they are paying for it in Sydney?”

When Pasifika meet in Australia, it is often kava that dominates: now, it is the absence of it.

The traditional brew, made from the kava plant and central to so many of the Pacific’s social interactions, is in vanishingly short supply, an unlikely, unhappy, corollary of Covid shutdowns.

And the shortage is harming businesses across the region.

Kava – usually brackish, bitter and mildly euphoric – is made by crushing the roots and rhizome of the kava plant, and mixing the powder with water.

It is drunk, as Faonetapu Takiari, president of Pasifika community group the United Nesian Movement, told the Guardian, whenever Pasifika gather.

“Kava is present at nearly every Pasifika occasion from formal ceremonies to social gatherings and used as a medium to share our culture, carry out traditions and promote social cohesion through talanoa [conversation]”.

In Pacific island nations with little Covid spread, but strict lockdowns and curfews, the traditional late-night sessions have been dramatically curtailed. In Fiji, where the drink is known as yaqona, there was even a temporary ban on sharing the bilo, the communal cup from which the kava is traditionally supped.

Meanwhile, in Australia, supplies run ever lower. The powder made from the plant usually costs around $50 a kilogram, but, in the quiet conversations around Australia, the prices mentioned now are up to 10 times that.

It is legal to bring kava into Australia, but only when personally carried on a plane or ship, and strictly limited to four kilograms per adult per trip. With the Covid-19 pandemic shutting down almost all travel across the Pacific, the kava supply has rapidly dried up.

And while carrying kava into Australia is legal, posting the plant or powder into the country is not, regarded by the Australian Border Force as an illegal importation.

That hasn’t stopped people trying.

Australian Border Force port operations commander Leo Lahey said officers at international mail centres had seen attempts to mail kava into the country increase more than 30-fold.

In January and February, just 67kg of kava was intercepted, Lahey said. “In July and August there’s been 739 detections weighing a total of 2.2 tonnes. So the increase is quite extraordinary.”

It might never have come to this. In early 2019, just days after visits to Vanuatu and Fiji where the issue of kava – if not a bilo or two of it – was raised with Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, his government made two announcements: that the personal limit of kava importation would be doubled from two kilograms to four, and that it would hold a trial of commercial importation of kava during 2020.

Morrison stressed the move was recognition of the centrality of kava to many Pacific cultures. But nearly two years on, a kava impasse is proving a thorn in the side of relations between the Pacific and Australia.

First, the trial of commercial importation was quietly “deferred” on the basis that, because of Covid-19, health authorities did not have sufficient capacity to undertake the necessary consultations and monitoring.

This has not been well received with kava producers and exporters in Pacific island countries who have been waiting years to access what should be one of their largest and most accessible markets.

Joseph Brun, owner of Brun’s Export in Vanuatu, said he had forestalled plans to plant a further 100 hectares of kava given the uncertainty of Australia’s position.

“It had created a positive impact to our business and a good outlook on Australia, we saw it as a potential to move from it into commercial importation.”

 

The second issue has been that resolutely closed borders across the Pacific have meant that the movement of kava between the island nations and Australia by way of the personal allowance has almost entirely dried up.

Cue shortages, and skyrocketing prices for what little kava is available.

Brun told the Guardian he gets about five requests a week from people in Australia who want him to mail them kava. And with his exports down 70% thanks to Covid, opening up a “kava bubble” with Australia would be a welcome fillip to his business.

In Australia, Takiari said he “absolutely” believed people already in the country who want to use kava should be able to have their personal allowance mailed to them.

“The pros of allowing kava into Australia … will benefit both Pacific communities and Australia as a whole, as kava use traditionally promotes positive social cohesion and cultural integration.”

The Guardian approached the Australian government for comment, but did not receive a response by publication.

Kava importation INTO AUSTRALIAN BORDERS

Kava importation, without a permit, may have a bitter end.
This year, the importation of kava has increased from 58 detections, weighing a total of 67 kilograms, in January-February to 739 detections, weighing a total of 2.2 tonnes in July-August – that’s a 3000% increase by weight!
The root of the kava plant is traditionally used for therapeutic and recreational purposes by certain cultures, however importing it through the post or by air cargo without a permit is prohibited – and may result in significant penalties.
The spike in detections follows travel restrictions enforced since

Kava formally recognized as a food!

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the supreme body that sets food standards globally has approved a standard for kava when mixed with water.

This has been confirmed by Timothy Tumukon, the Regional Coordinator for the Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific (CCNASWP).

It means countries under NASWP such as USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and 10 Pacific Island states including Vanuatu can now trade kava products amongst themselves as a food and beverage.

Kava has long been widely considered as a drug.

The approval of the first ever regional standard is a “a proud moment” for the 14-member countries of NASWP, said Tumukon.

“The other regions have developed standards but we have never done so before,” he said.

“We took so long to convince other member countries, especially the metropolitan members being USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand because for so long kava was considered as a drug.

 

“We had to research and find data to verify there is potential to consider kava as a beverage when mixed with water.

“In 2016, the committee requested that we develope a standard which was accepted in 2019 before we push it into the Codex Alimentarius.”

He acknowledged all member countries for lending their support and expertise, the scientists and everyone else who provided scientific information along the journey in getting the standard adopted by the commission.

Vanuatu has been taking the leading role in developing the regional standard since 2012 and successfully getting it approved just last week.

Mr Tumukon has been representing Vanuatu at the Regional CCNASWP since 2012.

Vanuatu’s term as the regional coordinator has now ended.

Fiji has been nominated to take up the role starting soon this month.

Vanuatu Kava Export Affected by COVID-19 pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Vanuatu kava market immensely.

Many Vanuatu kava exporters have faced with a lot of challenges in exporting dry kava to overseas market due to the closure of international boarders and high export air freight rate which affects the quantity of export.

Currently kava farmers and exporters have identified issues and are adopting with the situation such as Air Vanuatu regular flights to New Caledonia and Fiji Airways flights to United States via Fiji.

“Sea freight was more popular for kava export as the freight is much cheaper than air freight,” said Michael Louze, a kava exporter and the chairman of Vanuatu Kava Industry Working Group.

Mr Louze stated that “The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the growth of Vanuatu kava export market internationally.

“The Vanuatu kava industry is gradually addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Vanuatu kava export and one of the main issues is to develop more markets.

“Before Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam in 2015, there was shortage of kava supplies which triggered the high price of kava and after TC Pam, many kava plantations throughout the country were destroyed.

“Many kava farmers throughout Vanuatu have increase kava production since then because of the high price of domestic and international markets.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) through its National Kava Replanting Programme and kava exporters have done a lot awareness to encourage kava farmers to increase production of noble kava varieties to meet market demands.

Kava exporter, Louze added that “Vanuatu kava production is currently very high but given the disasters that Vanuatu is faced with, market growth does not match the increasing production.

“Our priority now is to focus on market development taking into account the various aspects of it, including quantity demand and have bilateral discussions with potential markets to ensure the price of kava remains high and to maintain the markets.

“The price of dried kava fluctuates between VT2,000 to VT 3,000 per kilo depending on the quality of kava.

 

“Many kava exporters have ceased temporarily to purchase kava because of the high stock of kava.

“Having been in the kava industry for a very long time, I recall in 2002, when dried kava was sold at VT150 to VT200 per kilo. So within 18 years, we have achieved a huge increase in price.

“Many farmers through- out Vanuatu have benefited a lot from this commodity that it empowers farmers to continue increase production.

“When we have increased markets, this implies that there is increased demand. Consequently, we have good price but if we have limited markets, the price will remain low.

“Potential market for Vanuatu kava is huge globally.

“In the future if we are not careful, other countries who do not usually grow kava will start planting kava like the Solomon Islands.

“We need to ensure that Vanuatu produced kava is branded locally and continues to maintain its top quality.

“Ensuring top quality is the responsibility of processors and exporters to make sure all facilities are of high standard.

“If we want our market to grow and Vanuatu’s name to become well- known, we need to supply top quality kava.

“Branding is very important as competition will be high since other countries have started producing more kava as well. So we need to promote Vanuatu original kava and maintain the quality standard as exporter of top quality kava.

“Kava is Vanuatu’s green gold, a commodity whereby local farmers earn a lot of income from.

“Farmers are encouraged to target good quality product to maintain market,” he concluded.

Life and Money in Agriculture

A well-known local builder and constructor, Aku Dinh, has turned himself into a major kava grower with a vision to take the Vanuatu kava industry to another level now and in the years ahead.

This was evident when three state ministers paid a visit to his kava plantations in the Rangorango hill slopes and valleys on Efate on Wednesday this week.

 

Finance Minister Johnny Koanapo, Agriculture Minister Willie Daniel, and Trade, Cooperative and Tourism Minister James Bule, accompanied also by Infrastructure Minister Jay Ngwele, had the full glimpse of the Aku Dinh kava visional plantations, now a reality.

Mr. Dinh’s kava plantations appear on slopes and hill sides as well as in the valleys of the Rangorango region above the international Bauerfield airport.

The well-managed kava plantations further prove Vanuatu stance on intercropping with kumala, island taro, and island cabbage which is a focus of self-economic reliance.

In his remarks before the start of the tour of the kava plantations, Finance Minister Koanapo, said the Government of the day is committed to the Agriculture Developments in the country. He reiterated that the Government of the day places high priority on Agriculture hence the productive sector including kava products. He went on to add that the three ministers of agriculture, industry, cooperative, tourism and industry work hand in hand to ensure Agriculture Sector of Vanuatu Economy is fully developed and advanced into the future.

“It is the policy of the present government to ensure that every local farmer in the country are assisted towards moving from subsistence farming to becoming commercial famers. The present Government is here to help take the local famers to another level in Agriculture, and the minister of trade, cooperative and tourism is here to ensure local demand is satisfied and export of the kava product and all agricultural products have overseas market at acceptable times. The ministry of finance and the Vanuatu government is to ensure funding is available,” Finance Minister Johnny Koanapo, assures the local investor and every local agricultural farmers and investors.

“Vanuatu must look within to the local famers and investors and provide every assistance to them,” he added.

He also added that the present government is committed to recognize the local investors such as Dinh who have put in resources he has into developing such a huge kava farm as this for internal and overseas market.

“The present government is also committed to promote local investors and famers before looking beyond Vanuatu for foreign investors, particularly in the Agricultural sectors,” minister Koanapo added.

Mr. Dinh revealed to the ministerial delegation that he turned to agriculture, hence kava because he strongly believes that “Life and Money” is in agriculture.

“Everyone knows that I am a builder and constructor almost all my life, but then i saw the importance of turning to land, with a pair of hands to till the land because “life and money” is in agriculture.

“But I also want to emphasis that many people have always taken me wrong that am not local, when in fact I am local.

“I was born here and so my parents and i have lived here all my life. I am pleased to see you all ministers here today and wish to emphasis that it is important to recognize we the Vanuatu local farmers and investors. It is time for the government to give preference of assistance to the local investors and farmers and oppose to the foreign investors, particularly in the agricultural economic sector,” Mr. Dinh requested.

During the tour of the kava plantations, pausing from farm to farm and explaining different planting stages of the kava plants, Mr. Dinh, pointed out the month each plantation was planted, how long it would take to maturity and readiness for harvesting for local market and overseas market, mainly to Noumea New Caledonia importers.

On the question of the total money value of all current kava plantations, Mr. Dinh replied to the Daily Post question: “I cannot detail that out now but later as we get close to harvest and market time, I will tell you,” he replied with a smile.

Dinh eyes future possibility of establishing a kava factory that will produce pharmaceutical products or medicines.

At the end of the plantations tour, ministers of Agriculture and Trade and Cooperatives and Tourism gave their remarks.

Minister of Agriculture Willie Daniel, said the ministry he is responsible for is fully committed to the present government policy initiatives on the development of agriculture as a “Priority Economic Sector” for Vanuatu. “The ministry is working hand in and with the ministry of trade, cooperative and tourism to realize the country’s goals on Agriculture sector hence kava project. The project and plantations we see today is the classic example of the government policy on the sector to raise farmers from subsistence to commercial farmers, it is the government of the day policy to ensure every farmer is given all assistance available to turn land into farms, in kava and all other agricultural sectors. That is why these three of us, with the ministers of trade and finance link together to ensure we fully implement the government policies on agriculture where lies the life and money for our people. We are at the juncture where we must meet the market demand both local, regional and beyond,” minister Daniel stressed.

He assured Mr. Dinh that the government will provide the assistance required to him and all local kava investors and farmers throughout Vanuatu.

Minister of Trade, Cooperatives and Tourism Mr. James Bule, said on his part, his ministry and officials under his ministry will ensure that the government of the day policies on trade and export of the kava and all other products are met. He said it is high time the country of Vanuatu give priority to this sector in order to arrive at a point time where Vanuatu’s own agricultural products will increase and the country become less depend on imported agricultural goods. He urged the farmers such as Mr. Dinh to turn to commercial farming in all sectors of Agriculture.

The Minister of Finance call on all heads of departments and sections under all the government ministries to take note of what they have seen on the visit, prepare to implement the present government policy directions and do not hold up such policies.

Mr. Dinh said he is prepared to work with government agencies in terms of providing technical and other advices to local farmers and investors and as well as supplying kava branches to local farmers anywhere in the country, as the demand comes along: “I am here to help and we must all work together to realize all our dreams to make Vanuatu an economic self-reliant nation,” says Mr. Dinh.

Important update on Kava Pilot Program Phase 2

**Important update on Kava Pilot Program Phase 2**

On 8 July 2020, the Australian Government announced that due to the impact of Covid-19 the implementation of phase 2 of the kava pilot program will now commence in 2021. Targeted consultation will commence once travel restrictions and the impact of the pandemic have eased.

The Australian Department of Health further advised that temporary measures to allow for the import of kava for personal use by mail is not possible as legislative changes and significant consultation with states and territories would be required. 

Kava Bazaar is very disappointed by this delay and will continue to support kava farmers, manufacturers and associated businesses to prepare for phase 2 of the kava pilot program, now set to commence in 2021. We are also looking for ways to continue import of kava for personal use during times of restricted travel.

Let’s bring kava to Australia.

Peace and love to all.

Vanuatu kava exporter ‘disappointed’ by likely delay to Australian commercial import trial

The head of Vanuatu’s Kava Industry Association says Pacific island countries are being “deceived”, as Australia looks set to delay a promised trial to import commercial amounts of kava.

The Australian Government – as part of its ‘Pacific Step-up’ – had announced a pilot program last year that would allow kava producers from across the region to sell their product in Australia.

But Pacific Beat has received confirmation from Australia’s Department of Health that the pilot program is “likely” to be postponed to 2021, because of COVID-19.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) spokesperson said the Australian Government response to COVID-19 is a priority for the Department of Health.

“However, development work on the kava commercial importation pilot is continuing, taking into consideration that full implementation and further targeted consultation is unlikely to occur until travel restrictions are fully lifted,” they said.

The spokesperson added that this meant that the pilot is unlikely to commence until 2021.

Michael Louze, an exporter and chair of the Vanuatu Kava Industry Association says its disappointing and Pacific leaders should “react strongly” to the delay.

Interview by Kelvin Anthony

The Kava road… from the islands to Port-Vila. BY THE KAVA HOUSE!

Our return trip from #PentecostIsland was made possible by #TevanuStar Silentworld Shipping & Logistics Vanuatu Limited . We are forever indebted to these local sea vessels and their management in #VanuatuWaters who eandeavour to #ConnectLives in outer islands to the main town centers. The crew here were effecient and prompt in delivering cargo and passengers and picking up at each passage with their awesome #CustomerCareService. One cannot ask for luxury in these circumstances however it is with pride that these men serve their customers -definitely proud #NiVanuatuCrew taking ownership of their peoples well being by offering the best service possible. #TheKavahouse team throroughly enjoyed the trip and amazing to see how much #VanuatuKava move across the waters. Tank yu tumas Captains , Super Cargo mo Ol Boe . Respect! ❤️👊🏽🍃🌴

#GreenGold #KeepingLocalJobs #VanuatuHospitality #ConnectingVanuatuIslands

THE KAVA HOUSE

KAVA POURING INTO PORT VILA!

There was a lot of kava coming into Port Vila on the 18th Of May 2020.

This was all after the TC Harold that hit Vanuatu recently.

The kava was mostly from the Island of Pentecost, A few from Ambae. And also it was the second time for Silent World Shipping Company to see Kava coming from the Epi Island Farmers.

Total bags arrived on that day was up to 238 (Green Kava).

YOUNG PEOPLE ENCOURAGED TO INVEST IN KAVA PRODUCTION

PIERRE FARE IS A YOUNG FARMER from North West B area on malekula who decided to invest on kava production since 2015. We caught up with farmer Fare this week at the lakatoro Market House (LMH) where he was selling his kava.

 

“Today, I came with 30 kilos of kava and will be selling at 700VT per kilo. I will go home today with 21,000VT because it is an order from my client,” farmer Fare said.

Fare stated that kava, as one of the main source of income for many people on Malekula, was also partly affected by TC Harold including his 3 hectares of kava and so he planned to sell them weekly at LMH.

 

“Five years ago, I observed many farmers from my community growing kava which earned them huge amount of money so this has inspired me as a young person to start planting kava and here I am today, already benefiting from the kava I have grown. “Kava is the main income generating product in my village, not other products such as coconut and cocoa. I have noticed that a lot of farmer earn good income from kava .” said farmer Fare.

As a young energetic farmer, Fare, said he will continue to grow kava to ensure a high quantity for future income. “I would like to appeal to young people who have huge land to make good use of it. “If you invest on your land, you will reap a good harvest and will not depending on your parents to give you money but survive on your own and have a good future.” He concluded.

 

 

Affected islands only to be selling kava to port vila due to tc harold!

The Government of Vanuatu is only allowing the islands who got affected by TC HAROLD to be selling kava to Port Vila.

Prime Minister, Bob Loughman has stopped all the other islands that were not affected by the cyclone not to send 
Kava to Port Vila. 
But the islands that were affected can send Kava to Port Vila/Efate to be sold.
And the Minister of Climate Change, Bruno Leingkone, Has assured all the people or farmers of Pentecost that they can
put their Kava inot any Cargo Ships to be dropped in Port Vila with free of charge. 

FOR BISLAMA READERS:

Kavman hemi allowem ol afek aelan nomo blong salem kava long maket naoia long Port Vila.
Prime Minista, Bob Loughman i stoppem ol aelan weh oli no been affected long TC Harold blong no sendem kava i kam, 
beh ol aelan nomo weh oli affected bambae oli save sendem kava i kam long Efate blong salem.
Mo Minista blong Climate Change, Bruno Leingkone, hemi assurum ol pipol blong Penticost blong bambae oli save putum ol kava blong olgeta fri, 
long any ship weh i ko dropem ol kakae long aelan ia.

VANUATU KAVA EXPORT MARKETS REOPENS

Vanuatu Kava can now be exported overseas again.

This came about after the National Disaster Management Office responded positively to the call made by the Vanuatu Kava Industry Association (VKIA).

VKIA chairman, Michael Louze, explained that since the State of Emergency (SoE), no kava could be exported and VKIA respected the rules to support the campaign against COVID-19.

But with the extensive damage on kava by cyclone Harold, it was primordial that export can start again, to ensure damaged kava can also be exported instead of rotting in gardens.

“We are really pleased the NDMO has given us the authorisation that we can resume exportation because it will also help us to meet expenses to farmers who needed us now because of the damaged kava from cyclone Harold,” he said.

“We have a first shipment since the first state of emergency ends and this shipment was for our market in US; unfortunately, it had to be shipped as borders were still closed and export by plane was not an option but we are very happy that the kava can be exported again and everyone is happy.”

Around 15 tonnes of kava had been stocked in Vila ready for exportation but it was not possible for the stock to be shipped out because the SoE was in place and other COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the chairman of VKIA, the next shipment will be for the Noumea market but this will depend if the nakamals reopen on the 5th of May.

Many farmers in the islands affected by cyclone Harold have started work on the damage kava recently; they were mobilised in helping their families and relatives to build back homes destroyed by the cyclone and help in the relief supplies in each community affected.

According to Mr. Louze, the kava production will see a big drop in the coming months and year as everyone will have to wait for new harvest. This will take time.

Kava Association asks NDMO to allow Kava Export

Chairman of the Kava Industry Association, Michael Louze, has asked the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to allow the exportation of 15 tonnes of kava stocked in Port Vila so the exporters can continue to pay for kava from farmers who are now victims of the damage caused by cyclone Harold.

The 15 tonnes of kava are destined for the New Caledonia and US markets.

In a letter addressed to the director of NDMO, Mr Louze said kava is Vanuatu’s main commodity and every month, kava transactions by the exporters ensure around Vt100 million reach the rural kava farmers.

“With the COVID-19 crisis, most of our overseas markets have slowed down, as people are confined, public places like kava bars are closed however there is still a demand,” he explained.

“Exporters have slowed down their purchases but are still operating and preparing stock for shipments.

“With Cyclone Harold, communities now need our support more than ever before to purchase the damaged kava. The private sector can play a very important role in this but the exporters also need support.”

According to Mr Louze, the problem is that if those shipments are not exported, it is very likely that most exporters will slow or even stop their purchase and some of them will simply stop sending money to the islands.

“With around 15 tonnes of kava to be exported, we are talking around Vt65 to 75 million coming into Vanuatu’s economy. This will enable us to continue to purchase the kava from farmers who now have lots of damage kava caused by cyclone Harold,” he added.

“We all understand the COVID-19 issues, but let us try our best to address the area of concern that may arise and we would kindly like to request NDMO to consider urgently the organization of airfreight and flights to enable the export of our commodities to help maintain a bit the economical activity in Vanuatu and bring much needed foreign currency into the country.”

Mr Louze said with category 5 Harold having passed and causing extensive damages (yet to be assessed) in SANMA, MALAMPA AND PENAMA, things have now changed and sadly not for the best.