13 Jun 2014

Tonga islands to benefit from kava ban lift

9:07 am on 13 June 2014

The Chamber of Commerce in Tonga says the lifting of Germany's 12 year old ban on kava could mean a huge economic boost for Tonga's outer-islands.

Germany's ban on kava because of fears of toxicity, which essentially halted most international exports, has been overturned by Germany's Federal Administrative Court.

The vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, Paula Taumoepeau, says kava had been shaping up to be a major export market for Tonga before the ban.

He says kava is grown all around Tonga, but the volcanic and mountainous islands are said to grow the best kava.

"Outer-islands, especially the ones with the higher hills and volcanoes, they grow the strongest kava. In the Niuas, Ha'apai and also in Vava'u, it will be especially good for the outer islands. We are trying to increase vanilla export as well but it's good to have something else. Kava, all growers in Tonga know how to grow it, and how to grow it well."

Paula Taumoepeau says kava growers have also been suffering from Australia's commercial kava import ban.