Govt says kava exports have rebounded by 345% since Cyclone Pam

Director of Biosecurity Vanuatu Timothy Tumukon reveals that total kava exports for 2015 were valued at just Vt 180 million because of Cyclone Pam. However, in the year following Cyclone Pam, kava export sales soared to Vt 800 million. Monday was the second anniversary of Cyclone Pam’s destruction. Government is helping farmers to plant the best noble varieties for their areas and the rules for product preparation for the international market are being taught.

UMP is seeking a reconciliation between what are understood to be only two factions within the Union of Moderate Parties on Tanna today. Ishmael Kalsakau (Leader of the Opposition) allegedly Read the rest of this entry »


Customs Dept requests roadworthiness compliance extension for older vehicles

A public transport bus passes by Port Vila market house. Photo © Vanuatu Digest

The Customs Department is asking for an extension to the payment period for road tax. Since 31 March is currently the legal deadline, the end of June is being requested. Cyclone Pam enabled a similar extension, and Customs being a Government service one would imagine it is all likely to Read the rest of this entry »


Tanna kastom shines on the Oscars red carpet

Red carpet kastom – directors and cast of Tanna at last night's Academy Awards in Los Angeles, USA. Photo: @tannamovie/Twitter

Red carpet kastom – directors and cast of Tanna at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California USA last night. Photo: @tannamovie/Twitter

Just to have been nominated for an Oscar is still something to celebrate even if Tanna did not win the foreign language film winning category. Iranian film The Salesman has won the category. Nevertheless it generated enough excitement to have a powerful kastom dance from Tanna take over the foyer of the National Convention Centre in Port Vila during live streaming of the Oscars ceremony here yesterday afternoon, where Tanna stars Dain and Wawa were guests of honour. Dain told Len Garae of Daily Post he “never dreamed the movie would make it to Port Vila let alone as far as Hollywood”.

A different kind of Vanuatu matter has also received media coverage in the United States — Read the rest of this entry »


Australia set to relax restrictions on Vanuatu kava imports

Australia to allow Vanuatu kava imports again

The big news today is very good news: Australia eases kava restriction, Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu kava export quality gets big boost from amended Kava Act

Vanuatu's noble kava varieties

Vanuatu’s noble kava varieties

Amendments to the Kava Act are now gazetted. The Acting DG of Agriculture, Timothy Tumukon, is reported as saying “First and foremost the amendment will be used to clean up the kava export industry especially since there has been extensive media coverage of kava exports in the recent past.” Daily Post reports him saying there were issues involving kava quality as well as individuals who trade the product overseas. Vanuatu Daily Digest is committed to assisting Vanuatu’s noble varieties of kava achieve the international recognition they merit.

“We have pinned our hope on this amendment to be able to Read the rest of this entry »


Kava exporter produces evidence to counter tampering accusations

kava

Peter Colmar, owner of Santo kava export business Sarami Plantation has responded to criticism of what were labelled as his “tainted” kava exports a week ago. The allegations of impurities in Sarami shipments were made by European kava expert Dr Mathias Schmidt in Germany and Vanuatu’s European Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy in Belgium. Colmar has angrily rejected the accusations of a week ago as “lies”, Daily Post reported on the weekend, and he produced gas chromatography data showing that his exported kava was a derived from a noble variety and contained only roots. There was some sympathy shown for Sarami and the Colmar position by the Agriculture Minister when contacted by Daily Post. He felt a cancellation of the exporter’s licence was not appropriate if the kava exported was of good quality. However, he said Read the rest of this entry »


Calls for kava exporter’s licence to be cancelled after US discovery of 60 tonnes of tainted kava

Tainted kava threatens Vanuatu's kava industry. Shown here is ground Vanuatu kava for sale by a US retailer

Tainted kava threatens Vanuatu’s kava export industry: shown here is ground Vanuatu kava sold by a US retailer

Adulterated kava exporting hits the headlines again. The Agriculture Minister and EU Ambassador are both calling for the kava export licence of Peter Colmar’s Sarami Plantation to be terminated. EU Ambassador Joy reports some 60 tonnes of tainted kava being shipped to four companies in the United States last year. It was all non-noble and non-root material. The ambassador’s research has been assisted by German kava expert Dr Mathias Schmidt who helped in having the EU ban on kava from island countries lifted.

Len Garae reports Dr Schmidt saying as much as 28 tons of ground leaves and stalks went to one US importer, Kumars Import. Schmidt is quoted saying “I thought the Vanuatu Kava Act had been changed, but if someone like Sarami Plantation can sell such quantities without any consequences, there must be more than just one person closing their eyes. We need to stop this before Read the rest of this entry »