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Kava producing Pacific countries are losing Vt472 million (over 4 million Euro) of export revenue each year since 2002 when the European Union banned the kava trade.
To date, the loss in earning has totalled Vt5 billion said Vanuatu deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Industry, and Tourism, Ham Lini.
Lini made the revelation shortly after he made an official call to Canberra about the importance of relaxing restrictions on kava imports.
“Kava, as our traditional drink is also a cash crop that is the main revenue earner for many farmers to meet basic needs like school fees and medical services.
“In 2002 European Union banned the export of kava from Vanuatu and other kava producing countries of the Pacific.
“The issue resulted in the Pacific losing total export revenue exceeding 4 million Euros which equals Vt 472 million plus each year.
“Australia has also banned kava from Vanuatu and other Pacific kava producing countries since 2007 which costs us export revenue of over Vt 37.5 million in 2012 alone,” said Deputy Prime Minister.
“This paints a negative publicity about our golden product in the international export market.”
Vanuatu’s first ever National Kava Forum initiate a comprehensive examination centered into an industry that has given jobs to 25,000 plus farmers and employs thousands more people, the Kava Industry. Discussions will be based around kava production, quality control, and trading of Vanuatu kava and export.
According to Lini, the Government’s objective is for the Forum to put forward a clear roadmap and development plan to take the kava industry forward.
“I requested this Forum to review existing policies and legislative frameworks and generate a better road map to improve Vanuatu’s kava industry,” said the deputy Prime Minster.
One of the main interesting topics of the Forum is Europe’s ban on kava that has also affected the global market of kava.
The two days forum gathers a wide group of stakeholders including farmers, exporters, processors, government officials, civil societies and development partners to review the industry.
With ‘Develop and Improve Kava Quality and Trade’ as its theme, the Forum takes an in-depth approach into the industry with technicians bringing about expertise of Agriculture and Kava Production and its marketing and trade considering the existing Kava Act.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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