20 Jan 2004

Kava producers to target Germany in move to end ban

11:40 am on 20 January 2004

The chairman of the International Kava Executive Council, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, says the body is working at trying to convince Germany to lift its ban on kava within the next six months.

Germany was the first of many European countries to ban kava four years ago, amid concerns it caused liver damage.

So far only Wales has lifted the ban despite evidence compiled by kava growers showing the product is safe.

Ratu Josateki, who is also chairman of the Fiji Kava Council, says EU officials are in Fiji to meet government heads from the affected Pacific countries in a bid to get the ban lifted.

"If we can get the Germans back on track, then the rest of the world who have placed restrictions or recalls on their trading in kava, will come on board. So the target is of course on German to lift the trade bans, and of course the rest of the world."

Ratu Josateki estimates the bans caused losses to the indursty totalling a billion US dollars.