Santo kava farmers fear ‘silent killer’ investor threat to their production

Santo kava farmers ... unable to compete with the investors in quantity. Image: Vanuatu Daily Post

By Glenda Willie in Port Vila

Vanuatu kava farmers on Espiritu Santo have expressed great fear of losing their production businesses in the wake of reports alleging that investors will be engaging in mass kava production on their land.

In a press statement, the kava farmers and suppliers said if the investors engaged in kava production on a larger commercial scale, they would outnumber the hard-working local farmers and dominate kava outlets with their production.

Describing this as a “silent killer” for their small-scale kava businesses, the concerned farmers called on the government through the minister responsible for labour to reconsider the working permits for those investors.

The local farmers are worried that their years of hard work would be in vain if this issue is not addressed immediately.

They claim that they will not be able to compete with the investors in terms of kava quantity.

“Kava is considered a traditional drink therefore the government should consider this as a priority to assist the farmers to protect the value of kava before they fall into the hands of investors,” they said.

The kava farmers said they would do their best to protect and defend their kava businesses as most of them rely on their businesses to sustain their livelihood.

Glenda Willie is a Vanuatu Daily Post reporter.

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