Fiji Time: 1:36 PM on Wednesday 22 October

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Europe lifts ban on kava

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

FIJI representatives within the International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) will work on a two- year road map after the ban on kava in the European countries was lifted.

Fiji Kava Council chairman, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo said the removal of the restriction on kava trade in European countries was a result of a 10-day roundtable consultation between Pacific Island ambassadors, European Commission leaders based in Brussels and the German Government Authorities in Berlin.

Kava trade had been restricted in the European countries since 2002.

Mr Nawalowalo said the recent development on kava would open the way for Pacific island nations to trade with the EU.

"This will involve immediate consultation between aggrieved European pharmaceutical companies and German health authorities 'BfArM' to complete scientific procedures as well as support various applications for alternative kava registration for medicinal drug use, traditional herbal, food beverage as well as GI registration as a protected commodity in Europe," he said.

The lifting of the ban will open up a lucrative kava market for Fiji as an agro-commodity to the EU, says Mr Nawalowalo.

"We also acquired legal advice from European lawyers Frantino Vergano, under our funding facilities by TradeCom, which confirmed our legitimate rights to seek WTO intervention and involvement. Fiji desperately needs to promote kava as an alternative to the sugar industry in EU and will be the answer to our economic plight," he added.

Fiji was earning close to $100 million per annum since 1998 prior to the ban while in 2003 IKEC registered a combined claim of 'loss of revenue' of around $US200 million per annum for the Pacific Island producers.

"I will be calling on the Minister for Primary industries as well as the Prime Minister to explain in detail the break through that has been achieved and the need for Government to facilitate infrastructural support and fast-track production by engaging the kava farmers in the 14 provinces."

The European Union based in Suva is expected to comment on the matter today.





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