Fiji cannot stop Yaqona imports from Vanuatu

Fiji cannot stop Yaqona imports from Vanuatu

Fiji imports kava from Vanuatu under the agreement. Fiji had benefitted a lot through the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA) that was signed with Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Therefore, Fiji cannot stop kava imports from Vanuatu.

Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu says “We have a big market domestically here at home, then we have our international markets,”.

Mr Seruiratu said if local yaqona farmers worked harder and planted more yaqona, Fiji would most likely not import “a lot of kava from Vanuatu”.

“There are many chances available now for kava. Most of the time, the farmers in rural areas just know about the markets available within here in Vanua Levu, but there are other bigger markets outside.

“But if we want to get into these markets, this is why the Kava Manual and Kava Standards will be important. If we want big money, we will need to meet the requirements of overseas markets like quality control, etc.”

Kava, otherwise known as yaqona, or quite simply, grog, is the traditional national drink of Fiji. It is a mildly narcotic and sedative drink made from the crushed root of the yaqona (pronounced yang-GO-na) strained with water. It is served in a large communal bowl as part of the traditional kava ceremony.

In Fiji, sun-dried kava roots are pounded into a powder, mixed with water and served. This preparation of kava is called grog.

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