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Kava Tops Non-Sugar Exports: Reddy

Fiji’s top non-sugar agricultural export is now led by kava, Minister for Agri­culture, Mahendra Reddy, has said. Dalo, Tumeric, Ginger, Cassava And Chicken In The Top Seven Categories
12 Apr 2022 05:00
Kava Tops Non-Sugar Exports: Reddy
Minister of Agriculture, Mahendra Reddy.

Fiji’s top non-sugar agricultural export is now led by kava, Minister for Agri­culture, Mahendra Reddy, has said.

“The 2021 data shows that kava exports were $41.9 million, followed by dalo at $30.1 million, and turmeric at $22.9 million, ex­ported mostly to United States of America,” he said.

The top seven agricultural export catego­ries were:

  • Ginger – $13.9 million,
  • Assorted vegetables – $5.7 million,
  • Cassava – $1.7 million, and
  • Chicken meat and eggs – $4.7 million.

“Kava makes an extremely important con­tribution to our rural exports,” Mr Reddy said.

Infrastructure

In anticipation of the impact of annual sea­sonal external forces such as cyclones, the ministry established infrastructure on the ground, he said.

Such infrastructure was designed to reduce the impact on kava farms, in the interest of sustaining exports, Mr Reddy said.

“Farmers and exporters are bearing the fruit of the market access that we have developed over the years for these crops” he said in Parliament.

Production

Total kava production in 2021 was 13.79 tonnes, with an average annual growth rate of 12.8 per cent.

“That is a substantial two-digit growth rate,” Mr Reddy said.

Agriculture received a total budget of $300,000 for kava production, which went towards:

  • farm access roads,
  • provision of yaqona cuttings,
  • construction of farm houses,
  • training of farmers,

nurseries, technical support and physical testing.

The University of the South Pacific’s labora­tory had previously taken responsibility for some of the over­arching roles in the kava sector.

“But now, we have our laboratory at Ko­ronivia where export­ers can bring their kava, to get it tested in a fraction of the price that USP charges,” Mr Reddy said.

“We have distributed 100,000 kava cuttings in Lomaiviti, the North­ern Division, and the Western Division.

“We have constructed farms in Ovalau, Mo­turiki, Levuka and Lau.

“We have established nurseries in Ova­lau and Vanuabalavu, and plan to establish more nurseries in the Western Division.

“Instead of giving cuttings to farmers, we can give seedlings, because the germination rate is 100 percent.

“With cuttings, germination rates are much lower.”

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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