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Focus on farmer, exporter awareness

Filipe Naigulevu
Monday, March 13, 2017

FOCUS will now be placed on raising awareness on the contents of the recently launched National Kava Standard and Fiji Kava Quality Manual.

This was highlighted by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program team leader Guy Redding after the launch of the two documents last Thursday.

PHAMA, an initiative supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments, had collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture in producing these two key documents which will improve kava quality and grow exports.

And while a National Training of Trainers (TOT) was also organised in Suva last week to boost farmer and exporter awareness, Mr Redding said they were still going through with raising awareness with farmers and exporters around the content of the manual.

"The standard and manual are documents so obviously people need to read and understand them particularly the farmers and the exporters," he said.

"That will take some time and a process of reinforcing these ideas and things that are in the manual."

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.

Mr Redding also highlighted the extensive research work carried out by PHAMA with the support of key development partners.

"The process of developing the manual and the standard involved a lot of consultation with the various provinces."

The participants of the TOT workshop are also envisaged to disseminate awareness and further training for farmers around the country through the networks of the Fiji Kava Council and the Fiji Crops and Livestock Council.

Mr Redding however revealed plans of developing the documents further with more visual elements added to it.

"It's got a lot of words in it at the moment and maybe we might want to develop some different training materials perhaps a training video.

"We need to talk that through with the Kava Taskforce and the Ministry of Agriculture," he said.

Mr Redding also highlighted plans of developing a regional standard for kava which were in progress,.

"Our focus primarily has been Fiji and Vanuatu as the main kava producing countries in the Pacific region.

"But also Tonga and Samoa are getting interested along with Solomon Islands," he said.

By the end of this year, kava farmers, processors and buyers are expected to be consistently applying these new quality standards outline in the two new documents.

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