Potential for increased kava exports

Fiji Australia Business Council president Dave Aidney says stakeholders involved in kava trade can benefit even more if the Australian government opens door for increased imports. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE domestic kava trade is about $300 million and those involved in it could benefit even more if the Australian government opens doors for increased imports.

This was the comment from Fiji Australia Business Council president Dave Aidney at the 2018 Fiji Australia Business Council last week.

“With kava now being $120 a kilogram on average, it’s said that the revenue from the sale of kava locally is over $300m,” he said.

“Now that’s significant and it’s probably on par with sugar. “So I think agriculture certainly does have great opportunities along with medicinal and herbal products.”

During a press conference at the forum, Australian Assistant Minister for Investment, Tourism and Trade Mark Coulton said the concerns raised by the council had been noted.

“The issue around kava is a little bit different to some of the other agriculture products in the fact that it’s not an issue around biosecurity but it’s more of a social issue in Australia,” he said.

“There was an amount of kava abuse in association with alcohol and other things in some of our more remote communities which led to the restrictions in trade.

“I’ve certainly had discussions with Minister Koya about that and I’ll be taking his concerns and requests on behalf of Fiji farmers back with me and talk with my officials as to where that is.

“At this stage, there’s no mooted change but the points that were raised to me I thought were quite good ones — the fact that there are 20,000 farmers that grow kava in Fiji it’s obviously a very important industry.”

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