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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (September 4, 1998 - Samoa News)---Farmer Banner Fanene said he supports the development of the ava (kava) root as a commercial export product. However, he cautioned that currently marketing is difficult because it's not a well known product.

Fanene was responding to a Samoa News inquiry regarding Congressman Eni Faleomavaega's announcement that an official of a U.S. drug manufacturing company is expected to visit the Territory soon to discuss the purchase of ava roots from American Samoa. They want them for use as medicine.

The Congressman said that the new development would provide an option for local farmers to earn additional income and diversify American Samoa's economy.

Although the name of the mainland company was not revealed, the Congressman said the company is interested in an arrangement through which the company can purchase commercial-grade ava on a regular basis.

Currently, the company purchases ava from all over the Pacific, but an additional supply is needed for the U.S. market.

Although the company expressed great interest in American Samoa, Faleomavaega said the biggest concern of the company is that they need a sustainable source of the ava root to make the arrangement commercially viable.

Fanene said American Samoa can make the ava root market profitable. "Any market that is not tested, is worth trying," he added.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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