REMARKS: Vanuatu Minister for Trade, Hon. Bob Loughman, at Workshop on Implementation Plan for the Regional Kava Development Strategy

Remarks and Speeches
05 June 2024

Minister for Trade
Workshop on the validation of the Implementation Plan for the Regional Kava 
Development Strategy and the scoping study on developing a KAVA based pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry. 
Grand Hotel, Port Vila, Vanuatu

5- 7 June 2024

Distinguished representatives from the diplomatic corp including the European Union, the International Trade Centre, World Intellectual Property, the Commonwealth Secretariat and participants who are joining this meeting online.
Senior Officials and Private Sector representatives from the Pacific region
Ladies and Gentlemen

Gudmoning! It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to our shores. I am delighted to see the turnout this morning despite the flight disruptions and other pressing commitments. The wide representation this morning is indeed encouraging, as it represents our Forum Island Countries’ commitment to validate the implementation plan of the Regional KAVA Development Strategy.

2.    We are indeed grateful to the European Union for the invaluable funding support that has enabled a broad spectrum of stakeholders across the kava value chain to participate in this very important workshop.

3.    Senior Officials, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, 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. 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.

4.    As you’re all aware, the Regional Kava Development Strategy was endorsed from the Forum Trade Ministers in 2023, and was validated here in Vanuatu in November last year, followed by the workshop that was convened in Nadi on March 2024, where a draft implementation plan for the Regional KAVA Development Strategy was developed.

5.    Senior Officials, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, we are now at the last tranche of this work where our discussions will pave the way on the successful roll-out of the implementation plan. These 3-days workshop marks a pivotal moment were each and everyone here and along the KAVA value chain plays an important role in operationalising the Regional KAVA Development Strategy through the implementation plan that will be validated at the end of the workshop.

6.    Senior Officials, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen the success of the kava industry in the Pacific depends on the actions we take today. I therefore encourage each of you to actively engage in the discussions, share your expertise, and contribute your ideas prior to validating the Implementation Plan.

7.    With these words, I wish you well in your deliberations.

Tenyu tumas!