15 Sep 2006

Renewed calls for Vanuatu government to close Commodities Marketing Board

1:24 pm on 15 September 2006

There are renewed calls in Vanuatu for the government to close the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board.

Stakeholders say it is a stumbling block to the quality control and export of kava, cocoa and other agricultural products.

The Chief Executive Officer of Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority, Joe Ligo says kava has played a vital role in bringing in revenue to farmers to pay for their children's school fees and put food on the table.

Mr Ligo says it is vital that Vanuatu does away with the lengthy processes that disrupt the development of the kava industry

International kava authority Dr Vincent Lebot has criticised the quality of kava that is exported to Noumea while kava dealers from all six provinces say they can no longer sell their kava after VCMB took control of the monopoly as the only company that is authorised to buy kava from the farmers for export.

The government earlier this year took kava off the VCMB's prescribed commodities list only to re-prescribe it weeks later.