Lami Kava’s ‘green’ revolution

From left: Lami Kava Operations Manager Edward Hoerder, PHAMA Plus Market Systems Development Partnership Manager Chad Morris, Lami Kava Managing Director Donny Yee, Australian Minister for International Development and Pacific Zed Seselja and Market Development Facility Fiji Country Director Malcolm Bossley during the launch of the company’s new wash bay and grading facility.

Fijian export company, Lami Kava Pte Ltd, is revolutionising the way kava is produced and processed locally with the commissioning of its new and advanced kava wash bay and grading facility.

With support from Australia and New Zealand through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus), Lami Kava constructed the modern wash bay structure with water treatment facilities and drying machinery to strengthen the quality of its kava and kava-based products for export markets.

The facility, which was commissioned today by Australian Minister for International Development and Pacific, Zed Seselja, is part of the company’s new green kava processing method that ensures the freshness and quality of kava is maintained from the farm gate to finished product.

“With the wash bay, our factory throughput has increased and normal volumes that initially took up to 3 days for washing are now completed in under 3 hours. The current business model allows Lami Kava to increase its supply base and buy more kava from the farmers,” Lami Kava Managing Director Donny Yee said.   

“This is a positive flow-on effect for our farmers in terms of time saved on post-harvest related work which translates into reduced farm costs. They can now focus more on planting and managing their kava plantations and less on drying kava – while we manage and control the quality issues associated with the washing, drying and storage of kava.”

The different post harvesting practices applied by farmers and kava producers at the farm gate could at times compromise the quality of dry kava sent for processing. With control of the quality of processed kava powder established, Lami Kava now has the confidence to take processing a step further with the installation of new processing facilities for new value-added kava products, supported through its partnership with PHAMA Plus.

PHAMA Plus provides support to Fiji’s kava industry by working with exporters, growers and government agencies in Fiji including the Fiji Kava Taskforce to improve quality assurance systems and standards to ensure market access and a sustainable and profitable export industry.

Australian Minister for International Development and Pacific Zed Seselja loads kava into the new wash bay at Lami Kava.

“We congratulate Lami Kava for being a positive change maker in Fiji’s kava industry, ensuring a more sustainable and improved quality kava production. More farmers are now joining the green kava revolution introduced in the market by Lami Kava – growers have confidence in a consistent price based on known quality parameters,” PHAMA Plus National Export Market Systems Facilitator (Fiji) Navitalai Tuivuniwai said.

The Program is now supporting Lami Kava to review and update its workplace policies, including those related to gender equality and inclusivity, and exploring the development of a workplace family violence policy. Lami Kava is now working closely with Australia’s Market Development Facility to formulate a market entry strategy once the pilot access is lifted for kava to Australia.

For more information, please contact PHAMA Plus National Export Market Systems Facilitator (Fiji) Navitalai Tuivuniwai on


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