23 Oct 2007

Kava expert holds little hope for revival of Europe trade

3:07 pm on 23 October 2007

A kava expert in Vanuatu, Vincent Lebot, says he doesn't hold much hope for kava exports from the Pacific to European markets to resume.

The chair of the International Kava Executive Council, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, is preparing to attend a meeting in Berlin next month in an attempt to get kava restrictions lifted by the European Union.

Mr Lebot says although it's clear from scientific research from the World Health Organisation that German authorities overreacted by banning kava as a toxic product, the crop's reputation has been ruined.

He says kava farmers and exporters need to rethink their options.

"Even if the EU countries were putting pressure on their health authorities, the damage is such within the market, I mean that the consumers are already scared, so I don't think they will reopen the market overnight. Or if they do, I don't think the market is there really any more because the damage is so bad that the reputation of the product has been damaged for a long long time."

Vincent Lebot.