2nd EU-Pacific Business Forum

25th – 27th June, 2014

Port Villa, Vanuatu

Statement of Outcomes

& Recommendations





HE Roy Mickey Joy (Vanuatu Ambassador in Brussels) advised the Forum that at a recent Meeting of the Ministers of the ACP States held in Nairobi - the Pacific ACP states estimated that loss of income for the Pacific Kava ban over the last 12 years was around US$ 3 billion.  The Ban imposed by German Health Authorities in 2001, on Kava Pharmaceutical Products – was lifted by the German Government Administrative Court on 10th June 2014.


Ms Mere Falemaka, Permanent Rep PIF-WTO, said that her office is currently looking at obtaining Quality Assurance Assistance for PIC-Kava producing Pacific Countries in a bid to help revive Pacific kava trade.


Dr Toshiyuki Miyake of UNIDO gave a presentation on how UNIDO has been providing for various countries in the Asia region (eg Cambodia & Lao) to develop quality infrastructure and expressed willingness, if funds are available, to extend their services in the development of Quality Infrastructure to the Pacific, for the promotion Quality Kava Exports.


The Chairman of IKEC - Tagaloa Edward Wilson gave a presentation on “Supporting Pacific Kava SMEs –To Meet EU Quality Standards for Kava Exports”.  Mr Wilson’s presentation highlighted the following:-


       i.            The need for Pacific kava traders to focus on Quality Assurance;

       ii.            The need to complete the establishment of the Regional Standard for Kava (under Codex Alimentarius);

       iii.            Update National Standards for Kava; and Need for ACP-EU to provide Private Sector assistance to Pacific Kava SMEs to increase production; and

       iv.            Establish Quality Assurance & Certification and training, as well a Pacific Marketing Campaign for Kava in the EU.        


The Forum deliberated on the issues presented and resolved to adopt and support the following decisions as list of outcomes for presentation as assistance / support measures under ACP-EU Multilateral Trading Assistance to support the revival of the Pacific Kava Trade with the EU:


  • Funding the remaining requirements for the registration of a Regional Standard for Kava-under Codex Alimentarius (there will be a need for scientific analysis to be done ASAP)
  • Provided technical support to build capacity for PIC Kava Producing Countries and SMEs-to meet International / HACCP Certification/National Foods accredit (seek UNIDO assistance and facilitation to provide laboratory/testing equipment)
  • Assist PICs to establish effective and efficient National Frameworks to promote/regulate and facilitate  Quality Assurance – so that there is compliance with export requirements from the EU/markets (UNIDO could assist in this area)
  • Support for an Independent Quality Assurance / Exporter Certification through IKEC for the region to safeguard  and ensure compliance with EU / Global-Markets for quality kava  exports, 
  • To support Research & Development for new range of Kava Products
  • Technical assistance for the establishment of a Comprehensive Marketing/Promotion campaign for Kava in the EU (to be undertaken by PIFS/IKEC).
  • To provide the following assistance to Kava SMEs to meet EU Quality Standards for Kava;
  •        Access to competitive finance and FDI  (Investment) for SMEs
  •        Facilitate market access for SMEs- such as provided under programs such as PHAMA
  • Capacity Building for Kava SMEs and Kava Farmers to increase production and engage in intra-regional trade.
  • Mitigate climate change and natural disasters effects – visa-a-vis adaption measures to help minimize impact.
  • Funding Support for IKEC to continue its co-ordination role for the Kava Producing Countries



KAVA BAN LIFTED: German court lifts ban on Pacific kava

The decision re-opens an export market estimated to be worth USD$250million per annum in the late 1990s. “The Kava trade was estimated to contribute an average of at least 20 per cent of GDPs for the Pacific Kava Producing countries-including Samoa,” said Tagaloa.



Wilson presentation-1st Pacific-EU Business Forum-Port Vila%20-11-12 June 2012 REV.ppt



Read about Latest Issue of Island Business Cover Story on the Pacific kava Fight- see link below:


Progress of Pacific island Kava-Follow Up from Vanuatu-High Level Kava Workshop:

Read About Pacific Kava Progress-Interview with Island Business Magazine: April 2012- look under MEDIA-and go to Publications Page.


1. HIGH LEVEL WORKSHOP ON KAVA-PORT VILA,VANUATU, 12-12 MARCH 2012 The ACP MTS Programme is funding a high level workshop on the establishment of regional kava standards for the region. The workshop will be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu between the 12th and the 15th of March 2012. Venue and Date Date: From the 12th to the 15th of March 2012 Timing: TBC as from 9:00 am Place: Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa, Erakor Lagoon, PO Box 86, Port Vila. Vanuatu.  See Publications section for Statement of Outcome and List of Participants for the workshop.

2. Working paper on CODEX Standard for Kava A working paper has been establsihed, and in the process of dialogue and continuing update on kava standard. This paper is presented below for information and comments only- it is not yet in its final stages. The purpose of the provision of this draft form is to seek comments on the proposed kava standards from all stakeholders: JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME FAO/WHO COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR NORTH AMERICA AND THE SOUTH WEST PACIFIC Eleventh session Nuku’alofa, Tonga, 28 September-1 October 2010 DISCUSSION PAPER ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STANDARD FOR KAVA (prepared by Tonga with the Assistance of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu) Background 1. At its 10th session, held in Tonga from 28-31 October 2008, the Coordinator (Tonga) presented to the Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific (CCNASWP), a discussion paper regarding the development of an international standard for kava products . 2. The Coordinating Committee generally agreed that further scientific research were needed to clarify a number of safety issues, prior to considering the standardization of kava for food. 3. The Coordinating Committee also agreed to recommend to WHO and FAO to assist countries to carry out research and studies. In particular on those aspects indicated in Points 7 and 8 of the project document attached to CX/NASWP 10/11/8, with clear identification of the need for technical inputs required to facilitate necessary assistance, including data generation for safety assessment of kava as food. 4. The Coordinating Committee agreed that the Coordinator (Tonga) in consultation with Pacific Island countries develop a comprehensive discussion paper address the uncertainties: i) scope of kava and the use of kava as food; ii) processing methods, iii) regulatory measures for safety control of these products by countries, and iv) markets of export; and other relevant issues, for consideration at its 10th Session. Rationale for development of a standard for kava 5. Kava (Piper myetheysticum) is an important agricultural commodity for Pacific Island Countries, forming an integral part of cultural, economic and social life. It has been domesticated for around 3000 years , and is being traded within and outside of the region in important quantities and value. 6. The kava drink, which has been consumed in Pacific Island Countries for centuries without any reported ill-effects on the liver , is made from a water extract of the root and/or rhizome of Piper methysticum. A recent WHO risk assessment concluded that “clinical trial of kava have not revealed hepatoxicity as a problem suggesting that “water extracts are devoid of toxic effects” and recommending that “products should be developed from water-based suspensions of kava” . The safety of water based kava drinks is supported by long-term ethno-pharmacological observations . 7. The said WHO risk assessment recommended that “adequate quality control measures standardized across the producing countries with agreed standard operating procedures should be instituted for growth, harvesting and processing of the kava root or rhizome”. 8. Pacific producing countries are currently at various stages of establishing national level legislation on kava to ensure fair trade in high quality kava products and to protect the health of consumers. In view of harmonizing these national standards, the development of a codex standard for kava has been proposed by member countries to regulate the use of varieties and parts of the plant which have been identified as a safe food for human consumption. Recommendation on proposed work 9. It is recommended to request the Codex Alimentarius Commission to initiate work to develop a codex standard for kava. 10. The 11th Session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific is invited to consider the document provided in the attachment and to forward the request for new work to the 34th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for its consideration. Request for Comments 11. Governments and international organizations in Observer status with the Codex Alimentarius Commission are invited to submit comments on this discussion paper, as directed above, for further consideration by the 11th Session of the CCNASWP. PROJECT DOCUMENTATION Proposal to develop a Codex Standard for Kava 1. The Purpose and Scope of the Standard: The purpose of this document is to develop a Codex standard for kava products, intended for human consumption. This proposal is intended to cover kava products whether processed, semi-processed or raw intended as a food for human consumption in accordance with the codex definition . Product Definition Kava is the name used in the Pacific Island Countries to describe a local traditional drink which has been used for cultural / ceremonial / social purposes for centuries. Other names for kava include 'ava (Samoa), awa (Hawaii), sakau (Pohnpei, FSM) and yaqona (Fiji). The word kava is used to refer both to the plant and the beverage produced from it. The plant from which it is derived is botanically known as Piper methysticum (G Forst), a Pacific plant species of the pepper family. The kava drink is made from a water extract of only the root and/or rhizome of Piper methysticum. The varieties to which this standard refers to are as follows (local vernacular names) : Vanuatu Kava Noble Varieties10 (Local names): Melomelo, Asiyai, Biyaj, Palimet, Miela, Olitao, Kelai, Ge wiswisket, Ge gusug, Borogoru, Silese, Melmel, Borogu, Sese, Urukara, Bir Sul, Bir Kar, Palarasul, Palasa, Poivota, Pia, Ahouia, Leay, Amon, Puariki, Pualiu, Naga miwok, Ge vemea Fiji Kava varieties: Matakaro, Damu Gona vula,Dokobana vula, Qila balavu, Dokobana loa, Vula kasa balavu, Loa kasa leka, Kabra, Loa, Vula kasa leka Samoa Kava varieties: Ava Lea, Ava La’au, Ava Loa, Ava Tonga, Tonga Kava varieties: Lekakula, Lekakula ‘akau, , Lekahina ‘akau, kava Tea, kava Kula, kava Fulufulu Solomon Islands Kava varieties: Melomelo FSM Kava varieties: Rahmwahnger Kiribati Kava varieties: PNG Kava varieties: Kau kupwe (from Baluan Island ) Kava products intended for food use in this standard are classified as follows: • Raw/fresh (including frozen) • Dried (in form of chips or roots) • Powdered • Water extract Safety of kava products A recent WHO risk assessment of kava products has found that “kava has had at least a 1500-year history of relatively safe use, with liver side effects never having arisen in the ethno pharmacological data” and concludes that “clinical trials of kava have not revealed hepatotoxicty as a problem” . This has been confirmed by further studies evaluating the toxicology of kava drink. Based on available scientific information it can be inferred that kava as a traditional beverage is safe for human consumption. 2. Its Relevance and Timeliness: (i) Kava Production Kava (Piper methysticum) plant, a member of the pepper family Piperaceae has been cultivated in the Pacific Region (including Fiji, FSM, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu) for many years. Kava is a major source of income for thousands of small farm holders in these islands. Annual Production (Volume/Value MT and/or $ for past 10 years) Vanuatu: 6000 MT Fiji FSM Papua New Guinea Samoa Tonga: Kava Trade (Export) With the increasing migration of Pacific Islanders to New Zealand, Australia and the United States, export of kava has increased over the past 30 years, making it a major export commodity and have contribute significantly to the local island economies and more so generate income to thousands of small farm holders. Significant volumes were exported to Germany until 1998, mainly as raw material of kava roots, stems, and leaves for pharmaceuticals products. The International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) has established that kava trade between PIC and Europe is valued at US$ 200 Million. Vanuatu is exporting approximately US$3.5 million worth of kava products to New Caledonia (part of France / EU) annually . The export of kava is estimated as follows. Table 2. Export countries of the pacific with the export values, volumes and importing countries 1998 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Export Value (US$ Thousands) Vanuatu 9,737 5,009 2,910 12,544 5,396 8156 6845 6210 6210 Fiji 34,649 1,907 1,597 2,231 2562 4045 4,168 4,891 4,950 Tonga 1,333 333 328 528 235 538 442 113 1,289 Samoa 1,975 7 10 11 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.6 2 Solomon Is 1998 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Export Volume (metric tons) Vanuatu 794 1,369 700 2734 788 713 482 837 477 Fiji 142 132 187 180 199 220 Tonga 147 29 27 43 19 65 46 11 161 Samoa 1.5 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 Solomons Is 0.1 0.1 3 14 Importing Countries Fiji, New Caledonia, Zealand, Australia, Germany, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Zealand, Australia, USA, China Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Australia, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Australia, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Australia, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Australia, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, USA Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, New Zealand, USA 3. The Main Aspects to be covered: If the CCNASWP should decide to recommend to the Codex Alimentarius Commission to consider and approve this proposal for new work, a CCNASWP Codex Standard for Kava will be drafted in accordance with the Codex uniform layout for food products. The proposed standard will cover kava varieties, plant parts, kava products in the form of frozen fresh, dried (in form of chips or roots), powdered and water extract, process, quality, safety, labeling in order to provide certainty and assurance to consumers. 4. An Assessment against the Criteria for the Establishment of Work Priorities: a. Volume, Value and Pattern of Trade of Kava from the Pacific Countries With the increasing migration overseas of Pacific Islanders to Australia, New Zealand and the United States, export of kava products has increased to New Zealand, Australia and the United States has increased in the past 30 years to ensure that their traditional drink is readily available in their new country of residence. Traditionally, man is the main consumer of kava, but socially, women also partake in drinking kava too. Hence, kava has become one of the major export commodities and foreign exchange earnings for the PICs. Kava is a major income earner for thousands of smallholder farmers and traders in the PICs. The varieties recommended for this standard are listed under product definitions as above. Table 1 ??? confirms that there is a significant volume and pattern of trade between countries on kava products. b. Diversity of national legislations and apparent resultant or potential impediments to international trade. i. Several Pacific Island countries are developing national standards for kava. For instance Vanuatu has recently (April 2008) enacted the Kava Act (2002-amended 2008), while Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are undergoing a similar process. The Pacific Island kava producing countries have committed to establish uniform legislations/standards at national level to facilitate trade and avoid trade impediments between countries. This is in line with the recommendation by WHO to put in place “adequate quality control measures standardized across the producing countries with agreed standard operating procedures, should be instituted for growth, harvesting and processing of the kava root”. ii. Regional market potential – a significant amount of kava is being traded within the countries of the region (see above). All kava being imported in developed countries, such as Japan, NZ, Canada, China, Europe and USA is sourced exclusively from the Pacific Island Countries. iii. Impediments to trade are the ban of pharmaceuticals processed kava products in 1998 which discontinue the export of kava roots, stems and leaves as raw materials to Germany. In addition, are the Australia’s regulated import and finally the total restriction on the import of kava products for human consumption in 2006, also impede the export of kava. iv. Kava is highly amenable to standardization, because the part of the plant used for food purposes is uniform throughout all countries. The varieties in the proposed standard are those that have been traditionally consumed in the Pacific for centuries and can be identified by standard taxonomical means. v. The proposed standard will ensure consumer health protection by identifying suitable varieties of kava, parts of the plant and the process of preparation that over centuries have not shown any undesirable health effects. This will draw upon scientific evidence as presented by a recent scientific risk assessment by WHO. The standard is expected to enhance trade opportunities for the kava producing/exporting countries by providing assurance to importing countries that they will receive safe, high quality kava products. The codex standard will promote harmonization of national standards and thereby contribute to the facilitation of international trade in kava products. 5. Relevance to the Codex Strategic Objectives: The proposed standard meets the criteria outlined in Goals 1, 2 and 5 of the Codex Strategic Plan. Goal 1: It will contribute goal 1 by providing a sound regulatory framework harmonized across countries of the region. As mentioned earlier, Pacific producing countries are currently at various stages of establishing national level legislation on kava to ensure fair trade in high quality kava products and to protect the health of consumers. In view of harmonizing these national standards, the development of a codex standard for kava has been proposed by member countries to regulate the use of varieties and parts of the plant. Goal 2: It will promote wide and consistent application of scientific principles and risk analysis, including promoting the collection of data from developing countries and from all regions of the world so that the risk analysis is based on global conditions and requirements. The standard will be based upon findings of the recent WHO Risk assessment for kava products . Goal 5: It will promote maximum and effective participation of members – Pacific Island Countries are already collaborating on a regional basis through the International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) and electronic/physical working groups and this will be continued and further intensified in the development of the proposed standard. 6. Information on the Relation between the Proposal and Other Existing Codex Documents: This proposal is an initiative of PICs to promote safe production of kava, as there is currently no such existing standard within codex. It will refer as much as possible to other general codex standards (e.g. hygiene, labeling, food additive and contaminants, etc). 7. Identification of Any Requirement for and Availability of Expert Scientific Advice: Scientific advice is required on the following: i. Determination of the kavalactone content (range) in kava varieties, which are known to be safe to human consumption; ii. Analysis of the nutrient content in kava products, which are covered in the standard. iii. Definition of agreed methods of analysis and sampling. 8. Identification of Any Need for Technical Input to the Standard From External Bodies so That This Can Be Planned For: Technical assistance by WHO and/or FAO to substantiate scientific advice in Section 7 above, as appropriate. There may be a need to conduct research (taxonomic key, DNA fingerprint, chemical composition) on varieties present in PIC producing countries and how these relate to each other (chemotype, etc) for traceability purposes. This should build on research done by Vincent Lebot et al. 9. The Proposed Time-line for Completion the New Work, Including the Start Date, the Proposed Date for Adoption at Step 5, and the Proposed Date for Adoption by the Commission” Start Date: 2009 Proposed Date for Adoption at Step 5: 2011 Proposed Date for Adoption by the Commission: 2013 References Codex Alimentarius Commission (FAO/WHO): 9th Session of CCNASWP, CRD 6 (Kava Standard, submitted by Vanuatu), Apia, Samoa, 2006 Codex Alimentarius Commission (FAO/WHO): 9th Session of CCNASWP, CRD 11 (Proposal for Dried Kava Products, submitted by Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga), Apia, Samoa, 2006 Codex Alimentarius Commission (FAO/WHO): 30th Session of CAC, ALINORM 07/30/32, Rome, Italy, 2007 Codex Alimentarius Commission (FAO/WHO): Procedural Manual, 17th Edition. Rome, Italy 2007 National Botanical Research Institute. Toxicological Evaluations of Kava Drink. Uttar Pradesh, India, 2008 Pacific Health Research Council: Kava and Pacific Health, Suva, Fiji, 2002 Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). Pacific kava: a producer’s guide. Suva, Fiji Islands, 2001 World Health Organization (WHO). Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products. Geneva, Switzerland, 2007