31 May 2002

Fears in Fiji of a spreading ban on kava

2:44 pm on 31 May 2002

Fiji's National Kava Council says a proposed Australian ban on imports of kava could have dire consequences for Fijian farmers.

The Council chairman Josateki Nawalowalo says Fijian authorities had failed to deal with the problem of already dwindling markets and an Australian ban, which may be followed by New Zealand, would hit hard.

He says the cause for this situation is a total ban for all kava products in France and Switzerland where kava extracts are blamed for causing liver diseases.

Mr Nawalowalo says we know that such allegations are not true.

European countries last year imposed bans or heavy restrictions on kava preparations based on a traditional Pacific drink and used as a sedative.