27 Sep 2007

NGO calls on EU to relax kava ban

3:28 pm on 27 September 2007

A regional non-government organisation committed to fair trade in the Pacific has held a kava ceremony to try to convince European Union officials to relax their ban on the crop.

The Pacific Network on Globalisation, or PANG has organised the event as part of a Global Day of Action on Economic Partnerships.

PANG's kava ceremony aims to highlight the unfair nature of what are essentially free trade agreements between the EU and ACP countries and to resume kava trade which has been crippled by bans.

The coordinator of PANG, Roshni Sami, says there is a lot of support for kava restrictions to be lifted.

"What we're doing is having a symbolic kava ceremony and we've invited Ratu Nawalowalo who is the head of Fiji kava council, an academic who has done research on kava, and was a coauthor of the WHO study and also fair trade activists. So we'll be drinking kava and presenting our views on the EPA's with EU and ACP representatives."

Ms Sami says in the Pacific region bans on kava have cost the industry millions of dollars in lost export revenue.