Fiji exports $3.4m worth of kava to Australia in five months

Suresh of Raralevu weighs kava for a customer at the Nausori market. Picture: FT FILE

Fiji has already exported around 30.4 metric tonnes of kava to Australia earning around $3.4million in five months after commercial kava export was allowed again to the Land Down Under.

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy revealed this in parliament this week saying this was a substantial gain for Fiji.

He says there are 146 exporters from different countries that exported kava to Australia, 94 of whom are from Fiji.

“We are basically exporting most of the requirements of the market and there are stringent requirements in terms of what needs to go on the label, the importer details, the lot codes, the country of origin, statements and required warning statements,” Mr Reddy said.

“These are the stringent requirements that kind of hampered uplift or entry of exporters to export to Australia.

“This year, they have also allowed other variant of kava, let us say kava root chips, kava root powder, whole kava root, as well to be exported to Australia.”

Mr Reddy said despite the challenges of labelling, Fiji had got a good uptake made in the first five months.

He said local exporters had been learning along the way and ensuring all requirements were met, and “there are very limited obstacles to exploring this new kava market and a massive market”.

“There is a large population in Australia who are from the Pacific, particularly from Fiji, who are consuming kava, they are kava lovers and we want to ensure that we take if not all, a chunk of that market and for that we need to get ready on the ground level.

“It is not that we can do this in a month or three months or a year, kava is a long-term crop.

“We want to capture this market, if we do not do that, Vanuatu will come in, so I think we are doing extremely well on this.”

More Stories