A three-member team from the Department of Biosecurity is on Santo this week to look at kava export facilities and also providing certification for new exporters.
Director of Biosecurity Vanuatu Timothy Tumukon explains to Kizzy Kalsakau of 96 BuzzFM's Vanuatu Nightly News that the department now has full authority to manage the kava export management system of the country including the kava export facilities for hygiene purposes and the kava export licensing.
“One of the prerequisites of issuing you with a kava export license is to make sure that you have a good export facility,” he says.
The three-person team of compliance officers will be on Santo for five days mainly in Luganville to re-evaluate the current kava facilities and to provide certification.
Once the facility owners have received certification, then they can apply for an export license for those who do not have a license and renewing the export licenses for those who already have them, Tumukon explains.
"So, they are there for two purposes – to approve export facilities and to issue export license forms for new exporters, or would be exporters and also those who are renewing their licenses for use to have a lot at those and approving them also.”
Those facilities found not to be of adequate standards will be given time to improve their facilities before they are given certification.
There are at least 14 exporters on Santo and the team will be visiting all export premises to have a look at the facilities and then issuing export license forms for those interested to fill these out.
Tumukon says the team will also visit facilities that are located in the outskirts of Luganville or in any villages in rural Santo.
On Friday, the team will hold a stakeholders meeting, which Director Tumukon will fly up to attend to touch base with everyone and provide information on the requirement that Biosecurity will be expected of exporters.
Meanwhile, the department has almost completed work for kava export facilities in Port Vila and plan to complete these facility inspections after the visit to Santo.
Currently, there are no export facilities on Pentecost, one of the largest suppliers of kava, or other islands of Vanuatu as all their producers supply to the exporters in either Efate or Santo. However, Director Tumukon says Biosecurity staff will visit the islands as they did last year to gauge the message about producing quality kava for export to overseas markets, with the support of development partners and exporter.