TC Winston

More local vendors purchase cheaper Vanuatu kava

Vanuatu kava is competing with our own local kava in our markets. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, the high costs of purchasing local waka and lewena has resulted in more suppliers purchasing kava from our Pacific neighbor. Waka prices in Fiji increased from $36.33 a kilo in January to $39.90 […]

Serelisoni Moceica

August 27, 2016 11:20 am

Vanuatu kava is competing with our own local kava in our markets.

Local suppliers are purchasing more Vanuatu kava due to the high prices of local kava. DEFTPO
Local suppliers are purchasing more Vanuatu kava due to the high prices of local kava. (DEFTPO)

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, the high costs of purchasing local waka and lewena has resulted in more suppliers purchasing kava from our Pacific neighbor.

Waka prices in Fiji increased from $36.33 a kilo in January to $39.90 per kilo in March and right up to $70.90 per kilogram in May.

Lewena also sold at $24.33 per kg in January, increased to $32.20 in April and $44.49 per kilograms by May.

Vanuatu kava is selling at $32 to $35 per kg for lewena and $38 to $49 for waka.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Market Survey personnel Jiaoji Waqabaca said at present there is competition between local and Vanuatu Kava in the market.

WAQABACA: “After Tropical Cyclone Winston, there was short supply of Yaqona locally and importers had to increase the importation of kava from Vanuatu to meet the demand from local and overseas markets.”

Last year, Fiji Fiji imported a total of 72,520 kilograms of Vanuatu kava worth $2.2 million.

Sigatoka Yaqona vendor Dinesh Singh said that the shortage of supply from yaqona farmers has resulted in the significant increase in the price of yaqona after TC Winston.

SINGH: “When planting and harvesting will return to normal then the prices will be reduced but that will take a while between 3-6 years.”

Prices of Yaqona at stall 197 at the Sigatoka Market increased from $30-$35 per kilogram before the cyclone to $50-$60 per kilogram.

The ministry has also identified areas for the production of the popular local drink and its  Yaqona Development Program is part of the rehab to boost production in the identified areas.

Meanwhile, the US recorded the highest yaqona exports with a value of $3.7million exported last year, an increase from the $2.9 million of yaqona exports in 2014.

For the international market in 2015, yaqona was exported to Australia, Canada, Germany, Christmas Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Unites States, Wallis and Futuna and Western Samoa.

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