Presenting the Pacific’s kava case in Brussels

The regional standards involved in the production of kava as a beverage have been closely studied during the last year by the Codex Alimentarius.

This is the body established by the World Health and Food and Agriculture Organisations.

It aims to fix standards for kava the beverage when mixed with water in the customary manner — a drink which is both physically relaxing and mentally calming, as Pacific people know well.

The regional Codex Alimentarius body met in Vanuatu last year and honoured Vanuatu’s contributions to its earlier studies of the kava species (piper methysticum).

Vanuatu was recommended for re-appointment to a second term as Coordinator of the Commission for North America and the South West Pacific. Various countries are assisting, like Australia and New Zealand, to make sure the Codex text format is strictly observed, and it was possible to have the document registered in Rome for the Executive Committee’s deliberations and now the Commission’s agenda.

The Codex Critical Review Team was able to state unequivocally: “The project document is complete and provides adequate information regarding the criteria for the establishment work priorities, including the criteria applicable to commodities.”

The Executive Committee is ending certain meetings this week.

Amongst its membership — a three-man Fiji delegation and a five-man delegation from PNG with the support of Australia and New Zealand, the United States and Canada.

It is hoped they will assist in getting the kava paper through the final stages of the Codex process.

Vanuatu is represented by Tekon Timothy Tumukon, Codex Regional Coordinator for the region of North America and the South Pacific island and larger countries. Tumukon is Regional Coordinator. He hopes to have support from Vanuatu officials in Brussels at the Commission meeting next week.

This is yet another step to bring kava to the international arena as a traded commodity. It is also a further statement from the Pacific that kava is safe for consumption if prepared as a beverage using cold water extraction. It is a step in the right direction to protect Vanuatu’s Vt1.2 billion export trade of kava.

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