28 Nov 2007

Fiji kava promoter continues to pursue the European Union over ban

3:27 pm on 28 November 2007

The chairman of Fiji's Kava Council Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, says he will continue to pursue a meeting with the European Union to reopen the kava trade.

The reputation of kava from Pacific countries was badly tarnished and farmers lost billions of dollars in export revenue when bans were imposed on the crop from 2000, fearing claims of toxity and ill health effects.

But the World Health Organisation has conducted independent scientific studies to confirm that kava, in its raw form, is safe.

Ratu Josateki, who is also a member of the International Kava Executive Council, says a meeting scheduled with EU officials in Berlin has been deferred several times, and is now likely to take place some time next year.

He says he is not giving up hope that trade to European countries will resume.

"We see no reasons why the trade has still yet to open up. So we are hoping with the WTO our concerns will be, that they will intervene. And we are now seriously considering legal action, but that would be a last option really."

The chairman of Fiji's Kava Council Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo