20 Mar 2017

Vanuatu kava growers struggle to meet US demands

12:11 pm on 20 March 2017

Kava growers in Vanuatu are struggling to meet increasing demands for the noble kava variety in the United States.

The noble variety has a relaxing effect without causing a hangover and is more desirable overseas than some other varieties.

John Fordham, the founder of kava export company Forney Enterprises, said more than 100 kava bars have opened in the US in the last decade and the market is growing fast.

Mr Fordham said there are many online purchasers as well.

"The problem now of course is supply of noble variety. Can we supply the market with noble varieties? The supply of kava certainly has reduced."

A noble variety kava blend packaged and ready for export by Forney Enterprise into the US market.

A noble variety kava blend packaged and ready for export by Forney Enterprise into the US market. Photo: Joshua Fordham

"They've had these dry seasons and they've also had cyclone pam which wiped out a huge amount of kava. But there are still areas. There's lots of areas in Vanuatu where you can still grow," he said.

Mr Fordham said there was increasing support from the Vanuatu government to help farmers grow more kava.