There has been an increase in demand for kava and kava products, as this has been directly reflected in the exponential increase in Fiji’s export earnings from $14.2 million in 2016 to $43.6 million in 2020.
This was stated by the Minister of Trade, Commerce, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya, during the inaugural meeting of the National Kava Committee held yesterday in Suva.
“But this is just the beginning – we have achieved this by exporting kava to just a handful of countries and mainly promoting kava through word of mouth.
“But we know our potential is much greater than that.
“That’s why we are continuing our efforts to expand our reach in potential markets, such as Europe and Asia.”
He said this includes holding bilateral discussions with countries to address market access issues and changing mindsets through positive marketing to facilitate review of kava import restrictions in international jurisdictions. .
“One such example is Australia – we have worked hard to enter the Australian market and we have succeeded.
“With the success of the first phase of the kava pilot program, allowing for an increase in the personal importation of kava from 2kg to 4kg into Australia – the second phase of this program commenced from 1 December 2021.”
This meant that Fijians could now commercially export kava to Australia with no quantity limit, provided they met all regulatory requirements.
“The kava industry has faced many obstacles such as natural disasters, supply constraints, the burden of regulatory requirements and standards.
“Therefore, at the regional level, Forum Trade Ministers have tasked officials to identify ways to improve market access and market diversification for kava and kava-based products.
“In this regard, a regional kava development strategy will be developed by the Regional Kava Working Group, comprised of members from Forum Island Countries, including Fiji.”