Drop in number of kava exporters in Santo

Two Dept of Biosecurity technicians Patricia Allanson, Compliance Officer (standing) and Jeffline Tasale Plant Health Officer(fruit/fly) in the Kava Lab.

The number of kava exporters in Santo has dropped from 14 to 12 this year.

The visit of the three-man delegation from the Department of Biosecurity to Santo last week found that previously there were 14 exporters on Santo but two exporters have decided to cease their kava businesses and move to other businesses.

Director of Biosecurity Vanuatu, Timothy Tumukon, told Vanuatu Nightly News host, Kizzy Kalsakau that most of the exporters are ni-Vanuatu with some naturalized citizens and one or two expatriates from Santo.

“The Kava Act states that only ni-Vanuatu are supposed to be exporting kava and this is in the dried chips and roots form. The Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority states that exporting of dried chips and roots is reserved for ni-Vanuatu only and other players or exporters can engage in the export of any other form of kava that is exported, such processing into other products such as powder,” said Tumukon.

“The Biosecurity team conducted inspections of the facilities of the 12 exporters and what we found was a lot of facilities are needing a bit of work to bring them up to the required standard so that kava can be processed safely for export.

“Having said that, there were a few that met the minimum requirement and were certified to export kava.”

The same mission was also to see those who have had their licences lapse and were also assessed for renewal of their licences.

The licence issuance is based on whether an applicant has the facility that met the minimum requirements.

“Having said that, a lot of the licences issued by the VCMB are still alive so the exporters in Santo are still using that. There are one or two whose licences have lapsed and we are working with them to issue new licences.

Director Tumukon says their trip to Santo was basically to see what the kava exporting facilities at Santo are like and their three-man team was there collaborating with the exporters.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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