22 May 2006

Control of kava again given to Vanuatu's Commodities and Marketing Board

5:53 am on 22 May 2006

Vanuatu's government has again given a monopoly over kava to the Commodities and Marketing Board.

A decision earlier this year to put kava on the prescribed list was overturned nearly two months ago after political pressure was brought with a motion of no confidence in the prime minister.

The latest order is set to anger the private sector exporters who built the country's international markets without any help from the Commodities Marketing Board.

The latest order was signed by the acting minister for trade, Moking Steven, while the minister for trade, James Bule -- who was forced to remove kava from the prescribed list -- was away.

The order, which came into effect on May 8, places all kava exports under the control of the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board, which is now reported to be threatened with bankruptcy.

The VCMB's Head of Licensing, Monitoring and Marketing, Kerby Abel, said he had given exporters until this weekend to export their stock, any kava held beyond that time without a proper export licence could not be sent overseas.

Mr Abel said the VCMB were worried about the quality of kava and the Quarantine and Inspection Services would make sure all exporters have the highest standard of storage facilities to maintain the quality of kava exports