A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Posted 4:54 PM by Luigi
The future of the kava industry
A press release from the Itternational Kava Executive Council:
We are sitting on a multi-million dollar industry which is calculated to have earned the Region US200 million dollars in 1998. Potentially, it is a multi-billion dollar industry if it becomes a world commodity. The International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) is working in collaboration with the Forum Secretariat and the Governments of Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Fiji to make that a reality.
In Europe we are targeting Germany because they were responsible for opening the pharmaceutical markets for all Europe and were responsible for the ban in 2000 after their own health regulatory authority “BfArM” claimed through some weird clinical studies that Kava product had caused liver failures in 76 cases reported across Europe. An indepth “Phytopharm 2003 Kava Report” rejected this claim because of insufficient case reports. This report went further to prove that only one case out of the 76 had used kava products. Furthermore, it is the most conclusive scientific report claiming Kave as an extra-ordinary safe herbal medicine.
The damage caused by the German Health authority on our small economies is immense but fortunately, the German Government through their Minister for Health decided 6 months ago to reverse the situation by reviewing their stand and will announce their decision next month (September). This was made possible through relentless diplomatic pressure by our Ambassadors and High Commissioners based in London and Brussels. We expect a positive response from the Germans, after all there were upto 1.5 million daily kava users in Germany before the ban came into force in 2001. Secondly, most EU States are merely waiting for the Germans to announce their decision because it is the leading authority in the herbal pharmaceutical industry.
The UK-Medicines & Health Care Products Regulatory Authority's announcement to commence review of their position from January 2005, was expected and is a blessing to us and will impact on our strategies for opening up the EU markets and the rest of the world. The US-Federal Drug Agency did not apply the ban, but had placed a lot of restrictions on fair trade which caused untold damages to US companies removing Kava products and exports ceasing altogether. A lot of our struggles in Europe would have been in vain had we not had the support and assistance of the EU Funding Agencies, CDE and Pro-Invest and in the Region, our own Forum Secretariat. With their support, we now have a fully funded International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) with its HQ in Brussels. Membership includes EU States and the Regional States of Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu with the Forum as partner.
IKEC in collaboration with the Forum Secretariat, USP, FSM, SPC and Government of Fiji are sponsoring the International Kava Conference (IKC 2004). There will be over 100 participants including renowned Scientists from Europe and around the world, economists, traders, stakeholders and Government representatives from the Region. IKC 2004 will be held in Suva, Fiji between 30th November and 3rd December, 2004 and special invitations have been extended to the four Prime Ministers of the main Kava-producing countries, i.e. Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga whose support is crucial in our drive to lay to rest all issues in respect of the safety and efficacy of Kava as a dynamic herbal medicine and lifting of trade bans and restrictions.
Based on the current WTO ruling on trade liberalisation and EU/ACP protocols on the sugar trade regime, Kava as an agro-based export commodity, we believe could be the alternative to sugar trade to the EU for Fiji and ultimately will be the multi-billion dollar foreign income earner for the Region. We are currently focusing our efforts in Europe, the USA, Canada, our neighbours Australia and New Zealand but are definitely strategically targeting the more lucrative Asian markets of India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand where 60% of their total population still depend on herbal medicine and health food products. The international markets are mainly in the pharmaceutical drug industry and the neutracautical herbal health food industry.
JOSATEKI T NAWALOWALO
Chairman, Fiji Kava Council / Co-Chair of IKEC
Chairman IKC 2004 – Local Organising Committee
Ph: (679) 338 6578; Mob: (679) 926 9745; Fax: (679) 337 1844
19 August 2004
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