At the 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers held last week in Lome, Togo, the Council approved, for the first time ever since the establishment of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Group of States in 1975, a special ‘Program on Kava’.
This means that kava is now eligible to be financed under the Private Sector Development Strategy and also from the funding provided as part of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to kava Pacific Island producing countries, whether it be for expanding market access, removing Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) or enhancing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).
It was back in May 2015 that the ACP Council of Ministers first considered and approved that Kava be part of the new ‘ACP Approach on Commodity Value Chains’.
The modalities of the new approach to supporting the development of agriculture value chains were then endorsed by the ACP Council of Ministers in May 2017.
During the 106th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers held in Brussels from 4th to 6th December 2017, Vanuatu called for the ACP Group to allocate funds under the Private Sector Development funding program to a new special program on Kava similar to the existing programs on the three main original commodities important to the ACP countries, namely sugar, banana and cotton, and a newer program for cashew nuts.
With the decision of the 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers last week in Lome, Kava has now officially become the fifth agricultural commodity considered important enough to have its own special program within the ACP Commodities Program.
When noting and thanking the ACP Council of Ministers for approving the new special program on Kava, Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu made a point of thanking the former Ambassador of Vanuatu to the European Union, Mr. Roy Mickey Joy, for his crucial role in this historic achievement. In his statement in the Council meeting, Minister Regenvanu said, “When kava was brought to the attention of the ACP Group of States back in 2007, almost no one had any knowledge about this particular commodity.
“I would like to pay a special tribute here to my compatriot, the former Ambassador of Vanuatu Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy, who has been instrumental in obtaining the recognition of Kava in the all-ACP Commodities programme. Ambassador Joy has been rightfully called by many ACP Members the ‘Champion of Kava’.”
Kava producing countries like Vanuatu are now working with the ACP Secretariat and the EU to identify and allocate financial resources to support the Kava program.