NEWS

Kava Exports Earned About $30.7m Last Year, Says Reddy

"Fiji exported a total of 148,141kilograms (kg) of kava to USA, 79, 925kg to New Zealand and 13,220kg to Hawaii in 2018."
31 Aug 2019 15:45
Kava Exports Earned About $30.7m Last Year, Says Reddy
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes (left) and Minister of Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy unveil the plaque to officially launch the new Kava Tissue Laboratory in Levuka, Ovalau on August 30, 2019. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

Kava export earnings in 2018 to­talled up to approximately $30.7m.

This figure was revealed by Minis­ter of Agriculture, Rural and Maritime De­velopment, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy while launching the new Fiji Kava Limited (FKL) Tissue Culture Laboratory in Levuka, Ovalau yesterday.

Mr Reddy said a bulk of these figures were from the top three destinations for Fiji’s kava exports which are the United States of America (USA), New Zealand and Hawaii.

Fiji exported a total of 148,141kilograms (kg) of kava to USA, 79, 925kg to New Zealand and 13,220kg to Hawaii in 2018.

He said there are 22,282 yaqona farmers in Fiji whilst 2700 of them are from the Lomaiviti province.

“Today, kava has become a very lucra­tive cash crop and is in great demand by both, local and overseas markets,” Mr Reddy said.

“With the renewed interest of markets for kava in Europe and a viable and grow­ing market in USA, Fiji must explore every opportunity to protect kava as a true Fi­jian product, its Pacific heritage and status in terms of competing in international mar­kets,” he said.

According to Mr Reddy, yaqona is one of the commodities that has increased its pro­duction despite Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.

Meanwhile, Mr Reddy also revealed that Fiji’s import value of kava stood at $15.2m as the volume imported was 169,902kg.

This he said was mainly from Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Reddy said Government was fully committed to supporting kava as one of the alternative industries to sugar but the industry needs to be fully restructured.

“Going forward we wish to undertake a comprehensive restructure of the industry along with all stakeholders in the industry registered and licensed.

“We will also establish an export arm, an extension arm with qualified extension officers supporting and advising growers. There are also plans to establish a national kava research institute jointly with our na­tional university.”

He acknowledged FKL for setting up the new Taki Mai Tissue Culture Laboratory in Levuka and their efforts to help the com­munities thrive in the yaqona farms.

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