FIJI AGRICULTURE MINISTRY SUPPORTS KAVA INDUSTRY

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Currently no large scale export

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, June 23, 2009) – A government official confirmed that it is supportive of the kava industry.

Ministry of Agriculture’s media liaison officer Kamlesh Prakash yesterday said a plan is already in place to help move the industry forward.

He assured farmers that they would be assisted to boost the production of kava in the country.

"The ministry has put a plan in place to assist the kava industry," he said.

"And the ministry is very supportive of the kava industry.

"We plan to assist farmers by offering advice, planting materials, fertilisers and working on the infrastructure to better the production of kava."

Fiji Kava Council chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo said they were yet to hear from the ministry on whether they would enact legislations proposed by them.

"The kava council is depending on the government to recognise how important the kava industry is to the country," said Ratu Josateki.

"Unfortunately we have not heard from government and this product is the largest export earner in the country."

He said the proven medical benefits of kava should prompt the Government to enact legislations proposed by FKC.

Ratu Josateki indicated that a 60 person trial conducted recently revealed that kava could cure anxiety and depression.

Lead researcher, Jerome Sarris, a PhD candidate from the school of medicine at the University of Queensland in Australia said kava was an effective and safe treatment.

Ratu Josateki said European Union is still waiting for responses from kava producing countries like Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu.

He said they are able to legally meet the terms and conditions that would be applied if they are to export kava. Ratu Josateki added that at the moment kava wasn’t exported on a large scale and the country was losing out on millions of dollars as a result.

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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