NATION

Kava Trading Target of Bill, Says Cawaki

  A new Bill would ensure that the trading of kava was based on appropriate standards and procedures, a public hearing was told yesterday. It would cover local trading, exports
09 Jun 2016 11:02
Kava Trading Target of Bill, Says Cawaki
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources Joeli Cawaki during the public hearing on the Fiji Meteorological and Hydrological Services, Land and Water Resources Management and Kava Bill at Macuata House in Labasa yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

 

A new Bill would ensure that the trading of kava was based on appropriate standards and procedures, a public hearing was told yesterday.

It would cover local trading, exports and imports.

A requirement by the ‘Regional Strategy for Kava’ is that kava producing countries in the Pacific are to have a kava management legislation.

The chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources Joeli Cawaki highlighted this during the public hearing on the Fiji Meteorological and Hydrological Services (Bill No.4 of 2016), Land and Water Resources Management (Bill No.7 of 2016) and Kava (Bill No.24 of 2016) at Macuata House in Labasa.

He said stakeholders would have a forum to voice their opinions and concerns, particularly the local kava growers and kava exporters.

Vijay Nand, a Labasa market vendor, asked Mr Cawaki to explain why there was a need to have a Kava Bill.

Mr Cawaki said there were five objectives of the Kava Bill.

  1. Establish a council that oversees the administration and management of kava business in Fiji;
  2. Protect the interest of the kava growers, kava processors, kava exporters and kava importers;
  3. Safeguard the exportation of Fiji brand kava;
  4. Provide for an operating fund for the purpose of the management of the Council; and
  5. Provide for incidental matters.

Meanwhile, Labasa District Advisory Council chairman Satyawan Bal Ram said he and others were not aware of the Kava Bill.

Mr Cawaki said the demand for kava had increased in the local and overseas markets where the kava industry in Fiji was a major contributor to the national economy, next in line to dalo and ginger industry.

“Kava is sold domestically and exported for commercial purposes, therefore generating millions of dollars into the Fijian economy,” Mr Cawaki said,

“Hence, there is an urgent need for a proper legal framework to establish the Council which will manage, administer and assist the growth of the kava industry.

“Moreover, there is also a concern on the false representation of kava that is exported for commercial purposes which should be prohibited by law.

“On the other hand, with the renewed opening of markets for kava in the European market and a viable market in the United States of America, Fiji must explore the opportunity to protect kava cultivated and processed in Fiji as a Fijian commodity and not only that, but as a Pacific crop as well in terms of competing in the international market or risk losing this opportunity to growers from outside the region.”

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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