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Kava exports out of Fiji temporarily stopped

KAVA and kava bowl
Source: RNZ Pacific

Suva, FIJI — Kava exports from Fiji have temporarily stopped following the discovery of illicit drugs in kava packs this month.

Green Gold Kava producer and exporter Praveen Narayan told RNZ Pacific he was informed by his agents about the ban on Monday.

He said they tried to send kava out of Nadi on Monday on flights but were stopped by the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF).

RNZ Pacific has contacted CAAF for comment.

Narayan claims the discovery of cocaine and methamphetamine in kava packs is no doubt going to damage the Fiji kava industry, with stricter measures already being implemented.

"This is putting Fijian kava industry now on red alerts," he said.

"All border and customs teams are on high alert for any kava shipment coming from Fiji.

"They need 200 percent assurance from Fiji counterparts that particular shipment is cleared to go ahead," he said.

Narayan said they were hoping to get out three shipments from Nadi on Monday on flights.

However, they had to go through more stringent measures.

"They even have the CAAF to empty packs of kava at the agent's warehouse to check again," he said, adding "the cost of these things will be high."

Narayan said there could also be a possibility that Fiji authorities will stop the export of other agricultural products in powder form.

"Next they will stop cassava and other agricultural products in powdered form," he said.

He said the authorities are "seriously looking at all powdered form of goods going out of the country" as a direct result of illicit drugs being discovered in kava packs.