Vanuatu kava exporter says nothing wrong with 'tudei'

A Vanuatu kava exporter says foreigners have misled the industry into believing the so-called tudei variety of the crop poses a health risk.

The comment from Peter Colmar comes amid hopes of some kava producers that restrictions on export of tudei might be eased.

An industry meeting this month resolved that there would be a review of all scientific literature on tudei kava, but that Vanuatu's policy of promoting only so-called "noble" variety would continue.

Mr Colmar said there was no vigorous evidence that tudei was bad for consumers' health, as some scientists claimed.

He said the majority of kava farmers in Vanuatu were planting tudei.

"And they say that our grandfathers were drinking this, we've been drinking this, what are you talking about?

"They can't understand what this stupid government thing is," Mr Colmar said.

"Under their law, the Vanuatu Kava Act, there are 126 varieties of tudei, and there are twelve of noble.

"So what we're saying is that for the last two thousand years the people of Vanuatu were really stupid because they selected the wrong kava," he said.

"That's what the white scientists are saying."