FIJI KAVA COUNCIL CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 3) - Fiji’s Kava Council is again crying out to the interim Government for assistance to take the industry forward.

Council chairman, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo says it wants government assistance to manage, develop and promote the industry in the international market.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR news files, Fiji Kava Council chairperson Ratu Nawalowalo said there was no encouragement given to farmers by the Government to produce kava.]

"I am frustrated the revised budget announced by the interim Finance Minister did not include the kava industry," Nawalowalo said. "We have a very strong domestic and international drinking market valued at around FJ$20 million [US$12 million]. This includes all communities in Fiji, our tourist market and our people now living abroad."

Nawalowalo is predicting a FJ$20 million return in revenue annually.

If government gives us its support and help us re-establish the markets, I guarantee FJ$20 million in revenue to our economy by the end of the year."

For 2005, Fiji’s export earnings were around FJ$3 million [US$1.8 million] and in 2006 about FJ$4.5 million [US$2.7 million], according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Meanwhile, the major pharmaceutical kava markets in Europe where kava is sold as anti-depressant drug is currently under review.

The nutraceutical markets in U.S.A., Canada and Australia where kava is used as an herbal food supplement should open up before the end of this year.

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