Australia’s Commercial Kava Pilot: An Assessment of Systemic Change in the Pacific Kava Industry
In December 2021 the Australian Government launched Phase 2 of its Pilot program permitting the commercial importation of kava (the Pilot). The Pilot aimed to assess the risks associated with kava importation and determine whether the resumption of kava imports was viable.
The purpose of this study was to explore market system impacts from the Pilot, changes in the distribution of benefits for women and youth and impacts on the natural environment. It is intended that the findings of this study will inform the Australian Government’s decision-making regarding kava importation policy and support for Pacific Island kava stakeholders. The research took place from May to June 2023 and involved in-country
data collection in Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu, as well as remote calls with respondents based in Australia and New Zealand (NZ). Although seven Pacific Island Countries (PICs) exported kava to Australia under the Pilot, the scope of study was limited to these three countries as they represented the largest PIC kava exporters to Australia by volume.
A wide range of stakeholders were interviewed, including farmers, exporters, logistics companies, Australian importers and PIC, Australian, and NZ Government representatives. The study also incorporated quantitative findings from a farmer household survey that PHAMA Plus undertook in Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu from May-June 2023.