$19m in kava exports

Seventy per cent of rural communities in Fiji rely on kava for employment and a consistent source of income. Picture: FT FILE

LAST year kava exports contributed about $19million to the national economy and 70 per cent of rural communities in Fiji rely on kava for employment and consistent source of income. Acting Minister for Agriculture Mereseini Vuniwaqa highlighted this yesterday when she launched Fiji’s Kava Value Chain Analysis Report. Mrs Vuniwaqa said the report would complement Government’s efforts to improve the consistency and reliability of kava production and also to grow exports of quality kava products. “With the results of this analysis, we now have a better understanding of how the sector works, and more importantly we can map a way forward to address the issues raised. “More than 70 per cent of our rural communities rely on kava for employment and as a consistent source of income. “Although kava has been grown in Fiji for centuries, it has only been in the recent past that production statistics have been recorded based on the transition of kava from subsistence to commercial.” Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, during his address said the findings and recommendations in the report was in line with Australia’s development policy to support Fiji’s economic growth and improve rural livelihoods through private sector development and trade openness. The analysis is the first comprehensive study carried out for the kava sector and was supported by the Australian and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

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