SUNBIZ

Kava Prices Falling

The Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy stated: “Kava prices are a function of demand and supply.”
08 May 2020 10:01
Kava Prices Falling
Naomi’s Kava, a vendor at the Suva muncipal Market. Photo: Laiseana Nasiga

The Ministry of Agriculture forecasts a decrease in Kava prices.

The Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy stated: “Kava prices are a function of demand and supply.”

“Supply of kava has been steadily increasing over the last three years as a result of signals of high price which went up after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

“After Winston, plantations were damaged and the supply fell while demand remained the same. So prices shot up.

“Meanwhile, over the last three years, supply doubled while demand remains high.

“However, over the past two months, domestic demand remained at the same level but external demand dropped. That kava which was pushed out now circulated in the local market, this pushing local prices down by 20 per cent. In fact, kava prices started to fall mid last year owing to massive production and supply. Reduction in exports over the past two months accelerated the lowering of prices.”

Nats Navunisaravi Kava vendor at the Suva Market.

Nats Navunisaravi Kava vendor at the Suva Market.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham also shared the same sentiments.

Taveuni kava farmer Sanjeev Kumar said: “There has been talk that the prices for kava may plunge soon.

“The decrease in margin prices would be affected by obvious factors such as travel restrictions due to COVID-19 as well as the recent damages from Tropical Cyclone Harold,” said Mr Kumar.

Farmers have been trying to make an opportunity out of the situation by decreasing the price. Reason being is they are harvesting plants before they reach maturity.

Most kava sold are not more than three years old yet have been sold to make a quick turnaround for farmers especially when the economy is down.

“But most kava farmers would be a bit reluctant as they would like to inspect the product before purchasing it yet are making good use of the low prices as a good bargain.”

Fiji Kava General Manager Sales George Kotobalavu said they were fortunate to have had contingencies in place.

“COVID-19 restrictions meant Kava Shops and Kava Bars, etc., operating at much reduced levels. Some closed for business and some offering takeaways and deliveries, adhering to safety measures.

“Thankfully, for us in Fiji, the COVID-19 restrictions were for a short period. During this time, we were blessed with contingencies in place. On the supply of Kava, for the short-term, we are already seeing an influx of Kava supply in the market.”

Though Tropical Cyclone Harold had severely damaged most of our outer-islands like Kadavu their supply chain remains fluid.

Kava Fiji continues to work closely with Kava farmers, village communities and business partners on continued supply throughout.

Mr Kotobalavu added: “We continue to cultivate and grow our nucleus estate in Cawatara, Ovalau, along with additional expansion plans in other green areas of the market.”

Donations

For Donations, Fiji Kava has been working with the Fiji Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Community.

“We contributed Eco bags to help with care packages. On a weekly basis the group collects donations and delivers to recipients and we are also running an eco-bag promotion,” he said.

You can find out more about Fiji Kava on their Facebook: Taki Mai Kava

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj

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