Vanuatu continues push for quality standard for kava

Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are working to adhere to an international food standard for their kava products.

The Codex Alimentarius Quality Standard is set by the World Health Organisation and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.

It sets guidelines on the safety, quality and fairness of food trade.

The Vanuatu scientist and kava expert Vincent Lebot said following the standard would protect the health reputation of kava.

He said bans on kava in Europe and Australia were due to misunderstandings on what it was and how it was used.

Vanuatu welcomes Polish move to re-legalise kava

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports it's no longer a crime to possess or consume kava in Poland although it's still illegal to sell it.

The traditional Pacific drink had previously been banned in some European countries over health fears.

Mr Regenvanu said the law change came in time for the upcoming climate talks in Poland and his delegation would have to take kava with them.

Vanuatu govt bill seeks to protect kava from outsiders

The bill would provide for only ni-Vanuatu farmers to plant kava, leaving any expatriate farmer looking to plant kava having to apply for a permit.

The minister said what he saw on his recent visit to Fiji convinced him to introduce the kava protection bill in parliament.

Mr Seremaiah had warned that in Fiji expatriate are mass producers of kava and have taken over a once strictly Fijian farmers' traditional kava industry and he does not want the same situation in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu confident of meeting kava target

Today at Tagabe, Antoine Ravo launches Vanuatu's Kava Replanting Programme, in which farmers will be encouraged raise Kava plants in nurseries before planting them with suitable companion crops like kumala, banana and taro.

Kava takes three to five years to harvest and the director says farming knowledge is advancing to ensure 100 percent growth rate of noble kava.

He says the ongoing challenges faced by the industry include the cost of transport and poor access between farms and markets.

Vanuatu kava industry to keep door open on tudei

Last week an industry meeting was held in Port Vila amid hopes of some kava producers that restrictions on tudei might be eased.

Sensitivity around the meeting was evident in the exclusion of local journalists from covering the event.

The meeting resolved that while there's a lack of scientific information on tudei, there will be a review of all existing scientific literature on it to incorporate into ongoing consideration.

A kava exporter and chairman of the Vanuatu Kava Industry Association, Michael Louze said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting

Warning not to take kava into Poland

A promoter of Vanuatu and Vanuatu kava in Poland Dawid Chajman said kava was classified alongside hard drugs like cocaine in the eastern European country.

This is despite Poland being part of the European Union, a market where kava importation has recently resumed.

Mr Chajman said Poland banned kava separately from the EU in 2005.

He warned all travelers from Vanuatu and the Pacific entering Poland not to take any kava with them.


Kava craze hits the USA

Kavafied is the brain child of former NFL player Matt Masifilo, who developed a simple and quick way to make kava at the end of his 2014 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

He says people in the USA are catching on to the kava craze and the demand for the Pacific Island beverage is at an all-time high.

“There’s not enough kava right now to meet demand, especially with the phenomenon of the American kava bar scene that’s exploding on to the market right now."

Vanuatu leads push to make narcotic drink kava a worldwide favourite

The kava plant – Piper methysticum – only grows in the south Pacific islands, with each one producing different varieties according to growing conditions, soil and climate, much like the different varieties of tea, coffee or wine.

The sedative brew is made from the roots of the kava plant, a member of the pepper family. As a drink it looks like muddy water and has a bitter aftertaste, but it is popular in the islands for its relaxing, narcotic properties.

Vanuatu exports impeded

The agriculture minister, Matai Seremiah, described the country's export dilemmas at the Pacific Week of Agriculture conference in Port Vila.

Mr Seremiah said Vanuatu was running short of kava due to increased demand locally and internationally.

The recent El Nino weather pattern and 2015's Cyclone Pam compounded the shortage by curtailing production.

Islands Business reported plans to boost production of high quality kava were already underway.

On beef, Mr Nawalu said his ministry was continuing with plans to increase cattle numbers.

Kava drinking club - cool or cultural appropriation?

The multi-cultural group meets up for a drink each week, and is part of a trend that has seen kava go beyond its Pacific roots, but the Kava Society has got some social media users hot under the collar. 

But one of its founding members, Zbigniew Dumieński, said the group didn't pretend to follow any rituals or ceremonies and thinks it would be bad, culturally, if they did. 

He said his initial interest in kava was sparked while he was in the Cook Islands and Niue for research.