FIJI PUSHING TO LIFT EU KAVA BAN

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British, French diplomats signal support

By Repeka Nasiko SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 11, 2011) – In Fiji, two diplomats have indicated their willingness to help remove the kava ban imposed on Fiji by the European Union.

[PIR editor’s note: The kava ban imposed by the European Union was to restrict Fiji and other Pacific island countries from exporting kava to the European continent.]

This was confirmed to FijiLive by Agriculture Permanent Secretary Colonel Mason Smith following a meeting between senior Agriculture officials, British High Commissioner, Mac McLachlan and the French Ambassador, Michael Montagnier.

In a meeting called by the two Ambassadors yesterday, Colonel Smith along with Minister for Primary Industries Jokatani Cokanasiga and Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests, Viliame Naupoto discussed ways in which the kava ban could be lifted.

"We are glad that the two men indicated to us that they would help us sort out ways in which we can try to lift the ban for the benefit of our people," Colonel Smith told FijiLive.

Smith said they also discussed the Fair Trade Act in which the Labasa Sugar mill and farmers are currently benefiting from.

He said they looked at ways in which non-sugar agricultural farmers can also benefit.

"This way, farmers have the opportunity to go and sell their produce and get financial help that they need," Colonel Smith added.

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