RELEASE: Pacific Islands Kava Producing Countries Agree on the Plan for Regional and United Kava Approach

Media Releases and News
07 June 2024

Port Vila, Vanuatu, June 6th, 2024 - Pacific Islands Kava Producing Countries Agree on the Plan for Regional and United Kava Approach

The Pacific is one step closer to protecting the cultural heritage, quality, intellectual property, and economic benefits of Pacific Kava. Pacific Kava producing countries have agreed on the Implementation Plan for the Regional Kava Development Strategy, part of a collective approach to kava protection and working as one Blue Pacific to address economic issues.

“I need not emphasise the role kava plays in the Pacific region simply because all of us in here are well aware of the importance of KAVA - not only to our cultural heritage, but, also to our economies and the livelihood of our Pacific people.” said Minister for Trade and Commerce, Honourable Bob Loughman in his opening remarks as the Chief Guest on Wednesday.

“For Vanuatu alone, Kava exports increased by 366% from 2014 to 2022, reaching VUV 3,390m, nearly reaching VUV 4,000m for 2023. This is an indication that more can be done as a region in the kava sector”.
Kava Working Group member, Mr Kelo Yomapisi of the Papua New Guinea National Trade Office, explained that “Enhancing visibility and prominence through [protection of] intellectual property of Pacific Islands Kava gives market access advantage. Our Pacific islands kava has a story attached to it, a story of cultural significance, a heritage passed down by generations”.

Mr Afoa Stefan Szegedi, Vice-President of the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters was hopeful that “This plan will give these countries confidence when they import Kava. It will also ensure that the imported Kava has high quality and standards. This will also ensure easier market access for companies”.
Senior government officials and kava private sector stakeholders from the Kava producing countries met over the last two days to validate the Implementation Plan of the Regional KAVA Development Strategy, following two months of consultation with senior officials, regional agencies and development agencies through the Forum and the Pacific Community.

"The validation will provide Solomon Islands' farmers with a clearer pathway and greater confidence in the kava sector, encouraging them to continue cultivating kava as a valuable economic resource." was the sentiment from the Chair of the Solomon Islands KAVA  technical working group, Mr Wale Tobata. 

Also validated at the sessions was the SPIRIT Scoping Study on the Development of a Pharmaceutical/Nutraceutical Industry in the Pacific. “The Kava producing countries have requested for a informative workshop on kava-based nutraceutical and pharmaceutical derivatives to be convened as soon as practicable, possibly in the margins of the Forum Trade Officials meeting in November” confirmed Ms Setaita Tupua, Team Leader of the SPIRIT Project, as the key recommendations dovetail neatly with the key pillars of the validated Regional Kava Strategy Implementation Plan”.

The Implementation Plan of the RKDS is led by PIF and the Pacific Community, in collaboration with the SPIRIT (Strengthening Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade) project implemented by PIF and funded by the European Union.

The workshop was held in partnership with the ACP Business-Friendly programme, which is funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and jointly implemented by ITC’s Alliances for Action, the World Bank and UNIDO. This is implemented in the Pacific by the Pacific Community.

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