Around two tonnes of kava worth over Vt6 million was destroyed yesterday by the Biosecurity Department.

The action took pace after tests found that the kava was not of the noble variety.

Biosecurity Director, Mr Tumukon says the kava was the wild variety from Malampa Province, in different areas on Ambrym and Malekula.

He said Biosecurity officers were alerted by kava buyers that they had received consignments of 74 bags from the two islands that were of wild variety.

“We are collecting information about these kava growers and a stern warning will be issued to them to uproot their kava or not to touch these kava varieties as they are considered as weeds in the islands.

“They have conducted illegal activities in terms of trade of kava and should it happen again in the future we will find ways of prosecuting them,” Mr Tumukon said. He said under the revised Kava Act, there are penalties that allow for prosecution of anyone that contravenes the law.

Biosecurity Analyst, Joanna Allanson, says their findings from samples was that the kava was in the range of wild kava.

“We categorize kava in four different groups which are the noble varieties, narafala kava, medicinal kava and wild kava.

“Unfortunately for this kava exporter, our finding is that the kava was of the wild variety,” she told Kizzy Kalsakau from 96 FM News.

Mr Tumukon said the huge amount of money lost in this case should be a huge lesson to everyone that is preparing kava for export.

“We have tightened our export requirements, meaning that we are likely to catch you if you are preparing kava for export that is not of the noble varieties.

“The government does not encourage trade of wild kava anywhere, even in the local market we will never, ever encourage that,” he said.

Kava exporters are encouraged to contact the Biosecurity Department at all times to conduct tests.


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