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Kava Trade In The Pacific

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Kava is a crop endemic to the Pacific Islands and is popular because of its euphoric, sedative, and anesthetic effects. Kava is traditionally prepared ground, chewed or powdered, and mixed with hot water to turn into tea. It is also sold as an instant powder or in pill form.

Kava is a significant trade commodity in many Pacific Island countries, providing income for farmers. It is mainly grown in Vanuatu and Fiji, where raw materials are set for export in different pharmaceutical companies globally, including New Zealand, Germany, Australia, New Caledonia, and the U.S.

Kava products were banned in the past due to alleged health risks. But today, the ban is slowly getting lifted in various parts of the world for lack of medical evidence. With the lifting of the ban, pharmaceutical companies foresee a surge in demand for kava products in the coming years. They are now positioning themselves in the market and anticipating cross-border business payments, thus needing a reliable payment business solution that can do the telegraphic transfer (TTs) and other overseas transactions.

Growing demand for Kava products

Kava products are being sold throughout Polynesia, Melanesia, Vanuatu, and some parts of Micronesia and Australia. How widespread is kava in the Pacific Islands, and what are the projections on global demand?

In 2002 European countries banned kava pills and compromised the sustainability of kava trade in the region. But in 2008, they lifted the ban and continued to find alternative registration options to legalize kava products.

Meanwhile, Australia has also recently restarted commercially importing kava products. FijiKava brand reports that its first import is around 2.5 tonnes and is expected to be higher in the following batches as the demand grows. They also plan to tap SMEs to address the foreseen demand once the products are out in the market.

Today, with the lifting of the ban in different parts of the world, nutrition companies are developing new kava products.

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