Tonga launches Kava Quality Standard

There is now more potential for new market pathways for kava exports from Tonga.  

This is after the launch of the Tonga Kava Quality Standard, in both English and Tongan versions, a milestone achievement for kava stakeholders in the island kingdom.

The Kava Quality Standard, launched by the Tongan Prime Minister Reverend Dr Pohiva Tui’i’onetoa and Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Adrian Morrison, ensures that Tongan kava for traditional or commercial use is processed and manufactured in accordance with international food safety guidelines.   

Developed in collaboration with the Government of Tonga and the Australia and New Zealand supported Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Program, the Standard sets minimum requirements, specifications and guidelines that kava products and processes should adhere to.

Tongan Prime Minister Reverend Dr Pohiva Tui’i’onetoa is served kava during the launch of the Tonga Kava Quality Standard at the Ancient Tonga Centre on Thursday 25 June, 2020.

Prime Minister Tui’i’onetoa said the launch marked the start of a journey for all stakeholders across the kava value chain in Tonga to promote and develop its kava Industry.

“The real home of kava is the Kingdom of Tonga. It has been used traditionally in the Kingdom of Tonga from the tenth century and has been part of the fabric of the Tongan way of life – anga fakatonga through many traditional ceremonies,” he said.

“The Kava Quality Standard is an important piece of work for the kava industry in Tonga. As a traditional and export commodity that has continued to gain popularity for its health and economic benefits, we need the quality standards to guide us through the process and principles of food safety. This will demonstrate to our markets that Tongan kava has been produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, and manufactured and processed in accordance with international food safety rules.”

Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Adrian Morrison.

Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Mr Adrian Morrison said the Standard was a practical outcome of the collaboration between public and private stakeholders in Tonga to increase access to export markets. 

“The standard is a simple but well written document for every kava stakeholder to use, which provides clear guidelines of kava processes from the production stage right to manufacturing and to marketing through the food safety requirement and acts. Farmers and others who follow its guidance may be assured that the kava they produce is safe for human consumption which in turn will improve consumer confidence and expand domestic and international markets for Tongan kava,” the High Commissioner said.

PHAMA Plus supports the development of priority sectors in Tonga which include horticulture and root crops. The Program’s support towards the Standard is part of its efforts to improve quality systems and food safety across the region.

*For more information, please contact PHAMA Plus National Exports Systems Facilitator Tonga Paula Mosa’ati on

Read the Tonga Kava Quality Standard:


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