31 Dec 2008

American kava importer says, with Fiji interim Government help, the industry should flourish

4:17 pm on 31 December 2008

A United States-based importer of Fiji kava says there is much to be gained for Fiji from the interim government assisting the local kava industry's rehabilitation.

This follows a request from the Fiji Kava Council to the interim government for financial assistance to kickstart the industry as it looks to bounce back following the lifting of the kava ban by European markets last month.

Michael McCoy of South Seas Botanical has been selling Fijian kava for almost 15 years and says there is potential for Fiji's kava exports to grow significantly.

"Often times in Fiji, people live in villages out the middle of nowehere. They have no source of income. They've been growing this particular crop for thousands of years, they do a good job of it. And when the ban went into effect in Fiji I know a lot of people just... they weren't making any more money. A lot of guys just dug the stuff up and stopped doing it. So if they can get more organised, I mean it's one of the biggest producers of kava in the world. And pretty good kava - there's a lot of different varieties but they do an excellent job."

Michael McCoy says Fiji's kava exporting could become more cohesive if the government took more control of it from the village chiefs.