Fiji Kava Industry Called 'Least Tapped" Part Of The Informal Sector

Contribution to nation's economy not captured in GDP statistics

By Matilda Simmons

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 15, 2016) – The kava industry is one of the least tapped sectors in the informal sector for micro finance inclusion, said Sitiveni Marovia, the ANZ's head of corporate responsibility, micro finance and rural banking.

He said this sector's contribution to the country's economy is not captured well to see its impact on our GDP thus the need to include them into the formal sector.

"These micro entrepreneurs contribute a lot to the economy. It is a whole different world in the market scene, the exchange of cash that goes on in there — you'd be surprised at how much a vendor is exchanging in a day or week. However, we cannot track how much they are contributing, that's why we want to include them into the formal sector."

He adds exports alone from Kadavu, one of the kava producing islands, is worth around $20 million as per a report from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

The financial adviser said in Asia, micro entrepreneurs contribute up to 60 per cent to the economy and for Fiji and the Pacific it's still a new concept to recognise the impact of these entrepreneurs.

"For one thing there will be structure once Government and micro finance institutions have them on board. They get banked, and able to get advice on investing opportunities whether in properties or other benefits."

He said the $750k a day figure spent by Fijians on kava was a conservative one, yet research needed to be done to determine how much the kava industry is actually worth.

Fiji Times Online.
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