8 Jul 2016

Farmers claim police involved in kava theft in Fiji

6:48 am on 8 July 2016

The owner of the largest kava farm in Taveuni in Fiji said he believes local police were working with criminals to steal kava crops.

Every kava grower on Taveuni has their kava out drying after Cyclone Winston

Kava Photo: Alex Perrottet/RNZ

An increase in reported theft of kava crops in Taveuni had left many farmers struggling to protect their livelihoods.

The National Farmers Union said the situation for farmers there was critical and police had not responded to many complaints.

Abhishek Sapra said the Green Grog Licence which allows the retail of raw kava crops had led to the increase in thefts since it was introduced 3 years ago.

Mr Sapra said in less then two months, nearly $US60,000 worth of kava had been stolen from his 161 hectare farm alone, and police have done nothing.

"Some of them unfortunately I do think work with some of the criminals over here. Nobody trusts the police over here. Just for our side of the island, if anybody ever reports a crime, the police hardly ever ever show up."