19 Oct 2017

Vanuatu exports impeded

7:15 pm on 19 October 2017

Exports of two of Vanuatu's premium commodities, kava and beef, are being impeded by high demand, natural disasters and cultural practices.

Vanuatu cattle

Vanuatu cattle Photo: Vanuatu Agriculture Dept

The agriculture minister, Matai Seremiah, described the country's export dilemmas at the Pacific Week of Agriculture conference in Port Vila.

Mr Seremiah said Vanuatu was running short of kava due to increased demand locally and internationally.

The recent El Nino weather pattern and 2015's Cyclone Pam compounded the shortage by curtailing production.

Islands Business reported plans to boost production of high quality kava were already underway.

On beef, Mr Nawalu said his ministry was continuing with plans to increase cattle numbers.

But he admitted Vanuatu's cultural practices, in which cattle are slaughtered for significant family events, were hampering these plans.

He said there were not enough bullocks to meet the cultural obligations of a population of 270-thousand.