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Yaqona prices increase significantly


Aug 26, 2016 05:29:00 PM

Yaqona prices increase significantly Price of yaqona across the different markets and villages in Fiji remains high following the destruction to the economy by Tropical Cyclone Winston in February.

A recent local market survey by the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that on average, waka was sold at $36.33 per kilogram in January, increased to $39.90 per kilograms in March and dramatically increased to $70.90 per kilograms in May.

Similarly, Lewena was selling at $24.33 per kilogram in January, increased to $32.20 in April and $44.49 per kilograms by May.

Ministry of Agriculture, Market Survey personnel Jiaoji Waqabaca said at present there is competition between local and Vanuatu kava in the market.

He said after Tropical Cyclone Winston, there was short supply of Yaqona locally and importers had to increase the importation of kava from Vanuatu to meet the demand from local and overseas markets.

Statistically Fiji imported a total of 72,520 kilograms with a value of $2.2 million Vanuatu kava in 2015.

With the drastic increase, vendors in local markets are experiencing a decline in customers buying local Kava and are now buying Vanuatu kava selling at $32-$35 per kilogram for lewena and $38-$49 per kilogram for waka.

For the international market in 2015, yaqona was exported to Australia, Canada, Germany, Christmas Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Unites States, Wallis and Futuna and Western Samoa.

Respectively, the US recorded the highest yaqona export bill of $3.7 million in 2015 compared to $2.9 million in 2014.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture has identified areas that will be focused for the production of Yaqona.

Deputy Secretary Agriculture Development, Uraia Waibuta said the Ministry has a Yaqona Development Program as part of the rehab and we will try and go back and boost production in the identified area.

By Reginald Chandar

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