Local demand high

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

LOCAL demand and consumption of kava exceeds the amount of kava exported, says Vio Veretawatini, the acting chairperson of Kava Taskforce Committee.

In a recent task force visit to Cakaudrove, Mr Veretawatini said less than 10 per cent of locally produced kava was exported.

“About 92 per cent of locally produced kava is consumed locally and our producers are trying to meet local demand,” he said.

“The demand for export has also increased but most of what we produce is going to local markets and for traditional and social obligations as well.

“The kava industry raked in about $19.7 million in revenue last year from exporting 311 tonnes of kava.”

Compared with a decade or two decades ago, he said the kava industry was much bigger today.

Mr Veretawatini said the growing industry could soon outweigh the dalo industry.

“Dalo industry is still at the top as it raked in about $23m last year which is higher than kava,” he said.

“But the rate of growth and increasing demand for kava, both locally and internationally, it could soon outweigh the dalo industry.”

He said more work had been carried out by his team to assist kava farmers.

“It’s a growing industry and 10 or 20 years ago, we were planting and selling kava without any specific tests or proper documentation carried out at that time,” he said.

“But today we are doing all that through the formation of this Kava Taskforce which is a government initiative. “So through this initiative, we have identified 13 kava varieties and we didn’t even know these kinds of issues 10 years ago.”

Mr Veretawatini said a lot of work is being done to ensure smooth transition of export transactions from our shores.

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