REGIONAL KAVA PRODUCRS MEET IN VANUATU

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 13, 1999 - PACNEWS)---The inaugural meeting of the Pacific Island Kava Council will get under way in the Vanuatu capital, Port Vila, Wednesday.

Participants are arriving from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Hawai’i and Wallis and Futuna.

The chairman of the National Yaqona Council of Fiji, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, said the meeting will consider such crucial matters as the current low international prices for kava and the development of international marketing strategies.

The delegates will also consider adopting a uniform price for all kava exports from the Pacific Islands region.

Kava is quickly gaining ground in the Pacific as an important export commodity.

"The Pacific Island growing countries recognized the importance of kava to our economy at the 13th Conference of Regional Permanent Heads of Agriculture and Livestock Production Systems held in Guam in early 1998," Ratu Josateki said.

Among other recommendations, that meeting called for promotion and development of kava through research, new methods for processing kava, help in the marketing processes and the set up of a regional Kava Council, he added.

Ratu Josateki said kava should be given special protection, since it is a specialty unique to the region.

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