Fiji Time: 5:17 AM on Sunday 25 June

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Filipe Naigulevu
Friday, March 10, 2017

KAVA is an integral part of life in Fiji. From announcing a birth, extending a marriage proposal to presenting it as a token of thanksgiving, peace and reconciliation, it is central to iTaukei cultural life.

And with our growing kava industry, Minister for Forests Osea Naiqamu has outlined the need to explore every opportunity to promote Fijian kava in the international market.

Last night saw a milestone achievement for Fiji's kava industry as the National Kava Standard and Fiji Kava Quality Manual were officially launched at the Fiji Museum in Suva.

A first for the country, the two documents mark a significant progress in the ongoing efforts to improve kava quality and grow exports.

Mr Naiqamu, while presenting the documents, said the manuals would support and validate overseas markets and assist stakeholders in ensuring that domestic and international trade of kava met international standards.

"These documents will assist us in promoting Fijian kava as the world's best," he said.

"Government through the Ministry of Agriculture has also put in place various initiatives like the establishment of the Kava Task Force in 2014."

Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay, who received the manuals on behalf of the stakeholders, said the documents were about improving quality and consistency of kava in its value chain from the farm right to the market.

"It provides information on good agronomic practices that focuses on site and soil selection; climatic conditions; seedling propagation and planting," he said.

The standard establishes a level of quality that is acceptable to all kava products used as food, ingredient or other products for human consumption.

The manual however provides detailed instructions and advice for kava farmers, processors and exporters on best quality practices.

The two key documents were developed in collaboration between the Agriculture Ministry and the Australian and New Zealand funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program. It culminates three years of work from the relevant organisations involved.

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