Sandalwood valued at Vt 208 million seized by Customs

Vanuatu sandalwood packed in container. Photo: © vanuatudigest.com

Six containers of sandalwood allegedly from New Caledonia have been seized by Customs with a claimed value of Vt 208 million. This is big 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 »


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 »


Vanuatu kava export shipment returned from NZ due to contamination with impurities

kava shell

Happy new year to all our readers and welcome to 2017!

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 Read the rest of this entry »


Air Vanuatu Twin Otter cable snap incident under investigation

File photo of an Air Vanuatu Twin Otter at Gaua Airport. Photo: Olivier Morice/Wikimedia Commons

File photo of an Air Vanuatu Twin Otter at Gaua Airport. Photo: Olivier Morice/Wikimedia Commons

The broken cable which caused “technical difficulties” with the Twin Otter plane at Walaha just over a week ago is being investigated. Air Vanuatu, Vanuatu Civil Aviation and Civil Aviation NZ are conducting the inquiry. The cable was manufactured in New Zealand. The break was potentially very serious, but occurred just as the plane was landing and the pilot handled the matter majestically, Air Vanuatu advises. Good news for Air Vanuatu safety at the same time is the airline’s passing of its IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). CEO Joseph Laloyer said the results of the 2016 audit were the best ever achieved by the company. (Daily Post)

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Opinion: PACER Plus is a poor deal for Vanuatu businesses that we should walk away from

Vanuatu says no to PACER Plus

As negotiations for PACER Plus, the proposed regional free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island Countries draw to a close, we can now see what it contains—and more importantly, what it means for Vanuatu producers. Read the rest of this entry »