BY BEN BILUA
REGIONAL Kava Development Strategy which was discussed during the recent Trade Minister Meeting is a beacon of hope for local kava farmers.
Faiyaz Koya who was the Chair of the Forum Trade Ministers’ meeting and Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport said the Regional Kava Strategy will be developed under the close guidance of the Kava Working Group that will be established in the coming months.
He said interested farmers and other agencies across the Pacific Island Forum region are welcome to express their interest to be part of the Kava Working Group.
“We had discussions on the Kava Regional Development Strategy and this has reaffirmed the cultural and traditional significance and the commercial potential of kava in the Pacific.
“The Ministers recognised the value in collectively developing the product further and agreed to develop a robust strategy and policy, not only to capture the opportunities but to safeguard its origins and ownership through various legal instruments provided for in the multilateral intellectual property treaties,” Koya said.
Kava is a promising export commodity in Solomon Islands.
Farmers in Malaita, Guadalcanal and Isabel have ventured into kava since last year following a program initiated by the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
On November last year, a total of 60 farmers from the different wards in South Malaita, Malaita Province were trained on kava farming.
A group called Malaita Kava Revolution Movement has been voluntarily providing Kava basic training in Malaita province with the hope to help local farmers get better returns.
Similar training was carried out on Guadalcanal Province so as Isabel Province.