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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 21) - The International Kava Committee and counterparts from pharmaceuticals from Germany plan to meet again next month in Berlin to discuss the new findings on kava and its ban which is still effective on countries like Fiji and Pacific, says Fiji Kava Council chairman, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo.

He said the kava ban affected many countries and everyone was hopeful the new scientific findings would persuade the committee to lift the embargo.

"The main decision on the lifting of the ban lies with the Germans and we expect the United Kingdom and France to follow suit if the ban is lifted by the Germans," Josateki said.

He said the ban had been in place since 2000 and they would meet with representatives from Samoa and Vanuatu on the issue.

In April, Josateki said the International Kava Council was waiting for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to make a submission on the ban.

He said WHO and overseas countries wanted kava legislation to be in place before they made a decision.

"I am into the last stages of getting the stakeholders to contribute to the legislation and letters have been sent to them," he said.

He said the final draft would be given to the stakeholders before it was presented in Cabinet.

He added the council was working closely with the Foreign Affairs ministry in trying to help with the lifting of the ban.

He said it was unfair for overseas countries to continue with the ban because it has been declared safe for consumption. "It is about time for us to apply pressure to the "giant countries" that have been continuing with the ban," he said.

Earlier this year, a kava working committee was set up by the cabinet members to examine the economic needs of the kava industry and consider ways and means to move the industry forward.

The kava market is segmented into three categories namely beverage market, which according to Fiji kava industry accounts for 10 percent of the global market, pharmaceutical 60 percent and nutraceutical 30 percent. Appropriate legislation would be drafted to conform the requirement of overseas buyers as far as food safety was concerned

August 22, 2006

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