Kava Taskforce off to Kadavu for training, talks

Over 60 kava farmers from the nine districts on Kadavu were part of a one day of training as part of efforts to improve the production and profitability of kava produced on the island.

Over 60 kava farmers on Kadavu will undergo a day of training this week as part of efforts to improve the production and profitability of kava produced on the island.

The training will focus on innovative farming practices, improving quality and processing, and marketing opportunities for the export of kava.

It will be co-facilitated by Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Program*. PHAMA Plus is a multi-country program supported by Australia and New Zealand and is designed to contribute to improved economic growth and rural livelihoods for Pacific peoples through enhanced access to export markets.

A similar training was conducted for 68 male and female kava farmers in Cakaudrove at the Wainigata Research Station late last year.

Kava is an important cash crop and a source of livelihood and employment for 10,400 households in
Fiji’s rural areas. It makes a significant contribution to household income, particularly for kava-producing communities in the outer islands. The demand for kava has increased in both domestic and international markets and Fiji’s kava industry is a major contributor to the national economy.

Over the last decade, Fiji’s exports of kava averaged 218 tonnes per annum, valued at FJD6.6million. Exports grew steadily from 2007 until 2012, reaching 300 tonnes per annum, but have been erratic due to climatic events, including droughts and cyclones over the past few years.

Kadavu is a major kava-growing area with over 80% of all households in the province involved in kava farming.

Kava farmers on Kadavu reading the Fiji Kava Quality Manual during the training on the island on 31 January, 2019.

The training will be held at the Vunisea Government Station on 31 January 2019 followed by a Kava Taskforce meeting on 1 February to allow members to meet farmers and other representatives in Kadavu to share information and ideas on growing the industry into the future.

PHAMA Plus supports the Kava Taskforce which comprises major kava exporters and representatives of the MoA, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji. It is the platform for public private partnership and helps to steer the development of the industry within Fiji and in collaboration with regional industry groups. The Fiji AgTrade Unit within the MoA is the Kava Task Force secretariat.

For further information, contact Losalini Leweniqila at l.leweniqila@phamaplus.com.au or on +679 7090808

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