Green yaqona ban still in place

Members of the Kava Taskforce visit a yaqona farm in Cakaudrove. Picture: SUPPLIED/FILE

MEMBERS of the public have been warned to refrain from buying or selling green yaqona plants as the ban in such trade continues.

Divisional Police Commander North Senior Superintendent of Police Eparama Waqa said the ban was still in place and those caught selling green plants would be taken to task.

SSP Waqa said the move was initiated to discourage the theft of green yaqona plants from farms.

“In a bid to address the increasing number of yaqona theft on the island of Taveuni, the sale and purchase of unprocessed yaqona was now prohibited,” he said.

Responding to calls from victims of yaqona thefts regarding the early return of their stolen yaqona plants which are kept by police during the course of their investigations, SSP Waqa said police now only take pictures of plants and return them to police.

SSP Waqa said the practise of keeping plants until the completion of case hearings in court has changed.

Concerns had come from farmers who said that yaqona plants taken by police were never returned to them.

Deputy divisional police commander northern Assistant Superintendent of Police Kevueli Baledrokadroka said they were continuing operations seizing illegal operators.

SP Baledrokadroka said last week an operation team managed to seize illegal operation in Dreketi, Macuata.

“The problem here lies with dealers within the community who have arrangements with illegal operators and have set up times and places where they trade green yaqona plants,” he said.

“We are warning them that this form of trade is illegal and at the same time we seek information and the assistance of community members that my assist police information.

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