7 Jan 2015

Kava shortage closes Vanuatu capital bars

12:34 pm on 7 January 2015

A shortage of kava in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila has forced more than half of its kava bars to close.

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Photo: RNZ

Commercial vessels suspended their regular services to the island of Pentecost, Port Vila's main supplier, over the Christmas and New Year break.

More than 1,000 families in Port Vila who use kava as their main source of income, have been prompted to open their own kava bars.

Some kava farmers living on Efate have used the shortage to hike up their kava prices by 300 percent, selling it just under six US dollars a kilogramme.

Since its commercialisation in early 1980, kava has become a main source of income for people in rural areas.

Pentecost is the country's main supplier for both local and international markets.

The next shipment of kava from Pentecost is expected to arrive next week.