Codex Alimentarius discusses Pacific’s Kava and Noni

After ten years of working on the draft standard of kava, the recent Codex Alimentarius meeting at the Warwick Hotel could see a major breakthrough for the Pacific’s green gold, kava.

Regional Codex member countries have come together to discuss, conclude and adopt the draft standard to go before Codex Commission in Rome to be declared a global tradeable commodity.

The Codex Alimentarius or the “Food code’ is a set of standards developed by FAO and WHO to help nations protect their consumer health and ensure fair practices in trade.

Codex members from the region gathered in Port Vila, Vanuatu at the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee (RCC) to begin a week of deliberations on matters including current and emerging issues, regional standards for kava and noni juice and the new 2020-2025 Codex Strategic Plan.

The Codex North America and South West Pacific region (CCNASWP) brings together a rich mixture of countries. Developed countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States combine with ten countries from what are known as Small Island Developing States (SIDS), comprising The Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and the current Codex Regional Coordinator, Vanuatu.

Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu was the guest of honour at the opening of the three-day meeting.

The Director General of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Moses Amos in his opening address commended the FAO and WHO to see the need to protect consumer health and to set up the Codex Alimentarius which is the reference point for all food safety-related standards development because of the rigorous and transparent process it has adopted to develop standards.

“Our region, comprising four of the most developed and some of the least developed nations, has the job of unpacking these challenges and offering the best and appropriate advice to our national food regulators to develop policies which best suit our situations – Thank you for the work of Codex, which make our work easier to use Codex standards and texts as a reference point to develop national policies,” said Mr Amos.

He said kava and noni hold very special places in our culture and recently our economy and the Vanuatu Government has been keenly following the development of draft standards for these two commodities.

Photo supplied Caption: Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu (centre) at the Codex meeting    

Tensly Sumbe