Vanuatu stops issuing kava export licences, moves to tighten regulations
January 16, 2020 11:39 am
The head of Vanuatu's agriculture ministry has suspended the issuing and renewal of all kava export licences, citing concerns that farmers are being ripped off by exporters.
The head of Vanuatu’s agriculture ministry has suspended the issuing and renewal of all kava export licences, citing concerns that farmers are being ripped off by exporters.
Moses Amos said over the Christmas and New Year period, kava exporters drastically reduced their buying price for dried kava chips, in the worst case by almost 90 percent.
Mr Amos said farmers were told the reductions were due to a glut in the market.
However, he suspected they were being exploited by exporters who knew farmers desperately needed cash over the holidays, and when preparing to send their children to school.
“The normal price is being paid between $VT3000 ($US26) to $VT4000 per kilo of dried kava, kava chips.
“That price has been reduced to $VT2800 and further down to $VT1500 and in some communities they are being offered $500 vatu for a kilo of dried chips. And I think that is a bit of a rip-off,” he said.
Mr Amos has called for a meeting with all kava exporters and industry stakeholders to discuss the ministry’s plans to introduce new regulations around kava pricing and export.