The first distribution of kava planting materials of 81 bundles containing 972 kava branches took place in the community of Iru tribe.
The Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) for West Tanna, Isaac Iaruel said, “The community members were happy to receive the kava planting materials as most of them are unable to grow kava after several years due to limited access to planting materials.”
Iaruel added, “The second distribution of kava planting materials of 181 bundles of kava branches was to Yapa tribe on Itaku village, West Tanna as there is a need to increase kava production in the area
Recipients also learnt about noble kava varieties and single node propagation techniques.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has entered into a service agreement with a lead kava farmer from South Tanna, Charlie Misa to supply planting materials of noble kava varieties to DARD to distribute to potential kava farmers on Tanna.
“The island of Tanna is well known for its traditional ceremonies and kava is one of the main crops used during these times therefore it’s invaluable and kava is one of the main cash crops for many Ni- Vanuatu so people are encouraged to continue to increase its production.”
“Kava has become an integral part of Vanuatu religious, economic, political and social life.
“It is now an important cash crop both for the local market and for export.
“Most people on West Tanna are purchasing kava from kava farmers on South Tanna, Middle Bush and North Tanna.
“West Tanna potential kava farmers were fortunate to be part of DARD’s kava replanting programme for this year 2021,” Iaruel said.
The distribution of kava planting materials will also reach out other communities on Central, North and South Tanna.
Kava is one of the key export crops of Vanuatu and is Vanuatu’s green gold.
In 2018- 2019, kava contributed to 53% of Vanuatu’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Photo supplied Caption: AAO Isaac Iaruel hands over planting materials to the chairman of Iru tribe area council.