Kava ban

Suspect exports under scrutiny as Fiji prepares to stop two-day kava

FIJI will soon ban the importation of the suspect two-day kava variety from Vanuatu to safeguard the quality of its kava exports to the global market and the health of its kava-drinking population. It is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s plans as the country prepares to implement quality standards for its kava industry and pass legislation to ensure strict guidelines for all stakeholders.

The Kava Bill, which will be reviewed by Parliament in its first sitting this month, comes just weeks after Pacific kava exports to the United States came under scrutiny. The alleged discovery of tainted kava from Vanuatu, from which some Fiji dealers buy two-day kava from and mix with their Fiji noble kava for export to the US, threatens the sustainability and faith of this growing global market.

The issue was highlighted in January when Sarami Plantation, one of biggest exporters of kava there, was accused of shipping tainted kava to the US via New Zealand. The concerns were raised by kava scientist Dr Mathias Schmidt, whose work resulted in Germany lifting the kava ban after almost 12 years, and Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, in Brussels. Germany lifted the ban on June 11, 2014, the court ruling that based on available data, the benefit-risk ratio of kava medicinal products was confirmed as positive.

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