24 Mar 2014

Better control policies for exporting kava needed

7:35 am on 24 March 2014

A kava researcher in Vanuatu says better quality controls must be put on kava being exported, or the product could be banned from the United States like it was in the European Union.

International experts met at a kava symposium in Fiji last week, to discuss the illegal exporting of the high yielding, but potentially toxic, tuday kava.

Vincent Lebot says despite provisions in Vanuatu's Kava Act, tuday kava is still being consumed locally and sent overseas, partly because of poor quality control systems.

He says are trying to develop simple techniques to be used by traders, importers and farmers to ensure noble varities of kava are the only types being traded.

"Unfortunately, we are not satisfying the demand there with strict quality control, and it is possible any time that some poor quality batches are exported to the US. If we do not control quality then we will have other problems such as the one we faced with the EU in 2002."

A kava researcher in Vanuatu, Vincent Labot.