South Seas Commodities (SSC) has partnered with the Australia and New Zealand supported Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Program to improve quality management systems of the production and processing of its kava products.
Sealing the deal, SSC Director Michael Louze said the partnership supports their commitment to improving product quality and ensuring food safety by obtaining a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification.
“The assistance through this partnership will enable us to acquire HACCP certification. This will be a milestone development for SSC as HACCP certification will mean proper systems in place to complement the current setup and provide opportunities to access new export markets,” Louze said.
“The local kava industry hopes for similar support from PHAMA Plus towards other kava exporters to achieve HACCP accreditation and take the industry to another level of supplying quality products to the overseas markets.”
The Port Vila based company directly sources kava from the island of Pentecost through its agents and processes it for export to New Caledonia and the US.
With HACCP certification, SSC will be able to export its noble variety of kava to other new markets such as Australia, Asia and Europe.
PHAMA Plus National Coordinator for Vanuatu, Emily Tumukon, said the programme was proud to support a leading exporting company and its vision to export high quality kava and ensuring consumer confidence.
“We are pleased to partner with SSC to help contribute to improving the quality of its kava products and putting in place a food safety system which will enhance the business. This will enable SSC to access new market opportunities,” Tumukon said.
“With SSC’s established network of local kava farmers and agents, we envisage that this will also contribute to improving livelihoods through increased household incomes and increased business revenues for a strong COVID 19 economic recovery.”
In 2012 PHAMA, now known as PHAMA Plus, collaborated with SSC to establish the Vanuatu Kava Industry Association, an industry body that provides a forum for kava growers, government and exporters in the country to discuss issues affecting the industry. The Australia and New Zealand supported programme also collaborated with SSC and other key kava exporters in 2016 on a program with rural communities of South Pentecost, South East Ambrym and Santo on the kava quality standards and awareness on the promotion of noble varieties.
The support towards this partnership is part of PHAMA Plus’ efforts to develop the kava and cocoa sectors in Vanuatu.