Being part of the Pacific Trade Invest (PT&I) Pasifika Festival delegation in March has boosted kava sales for Green Gold Kava owner-exporter Praveen Narayan.
Although Cyclone Winston had a devastating impact for many kava growers in parts of Fiji, Green Gold Kava farmers suffered less compared to others.
Prior to coming to the Pasifika Festival, most of the Green Gold Kava was sold locally and informally to buyers in Canada and the United States. With new clear packaging, a distinctive green label and the flecks of golden kava inside the packets, Mr Narayan is happy to report demand has risen.
“We are exporting to a dairy in Papaptoetoe [in Auckland] and nearing a deal with New Zealand importer Mellow Foods,” he said.
The deal sees a significant volume of Green Gold Kava being exported monthly to New Zealand and Mr Narayan is pleased to see his products finally on retail shelves.
“I am very proud as my Pacifica family will get to have real kava, the noble (variety) kava,” he said.
He is confident to export bigger monthly volumes to New Zealand and also to the United States by next year.
“By 2017 we will be exporting more than 2000 kg per month and we expect to send 10,000 kg to the US,” he said.
But Mr Narayan is also about to start exporting kava to China. A client in China had approved the sample and the buyer is expected to visit in August to sign off and formalise the deal.
Japanese clients have also been keen to import kava. However, Mr Narayan is awaiting their response after sending them the relevant information and documentation.
Green & Gold Kava is yet to find a market in Europe, but Mr Narayan said they were still “open for negotiations.”
Mr Narayan said Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture has helped him to reach out and educate local kava farmers on well managed farming practices and to help funding towards planting selected noble varieties of Kava. Green Gold had also undertaken further research into planting specific types of kava for export.
In March Mr Narayan was worried about his farmers of Savusavu and their families following Cyclone Winston. Fiji’s outer islands bore the brunt of the devastation. However, Mr Narayan said his farmers escaped relatively unscathed and were still producing. Others though were not so lucky.
Fiji’s Agriculture Ministry reported on Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) news (www.fbc.com.fj March 16, 2016) of kava plantations of Yaqona in Koro, Tavenui, parts of Ra had been wiped out and impacting on local supplies. However, Kadavu, Serua, Namosi and parts of Naitasiri and Tailevu were not severely affected. Various sources reported the ministry estimating the lucrative industry could lose F$116 million as a result of the cyclone. The total value of standing crop before the cyclone was F$498.8 million according to estimates.
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