27 Sep 2010

Vanuatu kava farmers want action over cruise company slight

7:24 pm on 27 September 2010

Kava farmers from Pentecost island in Vanuatu have taken issue with a newsletter issued by the cruise ship operator, P&O, which they say warned visitors that Vanuatu kava is spiked.

The farmers have called for a ban on the importation of Australian wine in retaliation.

Vanuatu's Independent news paper says the warning on kava is in the "Pacific Daily", the newsletter for the passengers on the P&O Pacific Dawn cruise ship, which is a regular visitor to Port Vila.

It says kava is spiked and may cause unpleasant side effects.

But Pentecost farmer, Jean Baptiste Buleben, says that claim is an insult.

He says kava use is a sign of respect and peace, which until recently was the preserve of high ranked chiefs.