Vanuatu kava export shipment returned from NZ due to contamination with impuritiesPosted: January 1, 2017
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Vanuatu’s regional leadership of kava production and export has been dealt a blow with news this week of a shipment of adulterated kava being returned from New Zealand. Vanuatu’s primacy in the industry began with the recognition of Vanuatu as the original site of domestication of kava, the large number of noble kava varieties established here, and 2002’s Kava Act designed to protect consumers from poor quality kava. In 2016 Vanuatu was given responsibility for the FAO’s Codex Alimentarius research into the crop. Vanuatu’s main export competitor, Fiji, only established similar kava consumer protection legislation last year, and has many fewer noble varieties.
Over 600kg of dried, ground kava in a container exported by JPO Kava Export was returned from New Zealand as adulterated, reports Daily Post. Director of Vanuatu Biosecurity Dept Timothy Tumukon says the shipment looked to be mixed with ‘makas’—bark and root residue added to increase the weight at the time of grinding. Tumukon is calling on the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board to revoke JPO Kava’s export licence. The company is based in Port Vila, and denies responsibility for the adulterated shipment even though the company’s name appears on the returned shipment. (Daily Post)
The government and people of Vanuatu must work together to restore the kava industry owing to reduced quantities available, a senior official says. The commodity provides an income for people of all ages, he added. Peter Napuat of the FAO kava project recommended people everywhere in Vanuatu remember the price has never dropped and continues to increase. Napuat’s team is training inspectors who will be able to do much to ensure quality for both the local and overseas markets. (Radio Vanuatu)
Lands Minister Regenvanu has told Radio Vanuatu of the significant advantages for kastom land owners of the new lands legislation. Chiefs and communities have become the arbiters as regards the local kastom and Minister Regenvanu praised Malo for the speed with which that island’s kastom land authorities had undertaken this task. The rules of customary land ownership are in place and operative already this year. Reorganisation requires reform and this is not always being achieved with the speed some landowners might like, but the process is a lot cheaper than going quickly to the courts, the Minister points out. Persons residing in Port Vila owning land on other islands are urged to find out for themselves the progress that has been made in their home areas. (Radio Vanuatu)
The Vanuatu Central Hospital recorded over 3,000 births for the year 2016, significantly exceeding the 2015 figure. The hospital reported many teenaged mothers. (Daily Post)
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has promised to address the ABC’s cuts to Radio Australia’s shortwave transmission to the Pacific following criticism from the region. Broadcasting colleagues in the Pacific have deplored the plan and have all made special reference to the Radio Australia cyclone and tsunami warnings. (Daily Post)