FIJI NEWS

Kava ban to boost island economy

Written By : Source: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION. A self imposed kava drinking ban is bringing about changes both in the economic and social well being of a village on Ovalau
28 May 2011 12:00

Written By : Source: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION.

A self imposed kava drinking ban is bringing about changes both in the economic and social well being of a village on Ovalau Island.
The ban dictates that Vuma villagers within Levuka district cannot drink kava from Mondays to Thursdays because these are days dedicated to farm work and generating an income.
Since the ban started five months ago, farming production outputs increased significantly.
Roko Tui Vuma Usaia Delai said men of the village now camp in the forests for up to three weeks at a time and focus on planting cash crops, dalo and yaqona.
The Vuma experience is indicative of a Government target of encouraging the use of natural resources for economic production.
Mr Delai said villagers imposed the ban because they wanted not just to help themselves but also address overall government intentions.
“Before men were drinking kava till three in the morning, or till daylight so farming levels were pretty low,” he said.
“Village elders sat down and decided we couldn’t carry on like this so the ban was put in place and it even applies for funeral gatherings that will only take place at the weekend when kava consumption is allowed.
“We noticed the change already because some of our men have expanded the size of their farms and have as much as 3000 yaqona plants and so much more dalo.
“We are expecting to rake in a good harvest by year end.”
The village expects a construction boom as young men have been tasked with the responsibility of building their own home and not to rely on their parents’ home to raise their families in.
The benefits of the kava ban are also experienced on the home front.
Unaisi Tabuaqoro said quality time is enjoyed as men spend more hours at home instead of around the kava bowl.
“Men come home and spend time raising their children with good biblical teachings and at the same time money is saved as it’s not wasted on things like cigarettes,” she said.
Mr Delai explained to a visiting government outreach team that yaqona could not be offered to them because of the ban, which was for a five-year period.




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