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Title: Sustainability of the Kava Trade 
Author: Pollock, Nancy J.
Date: 2009
Publisher: University of Hawai‘i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Pollock, N. J. 2009. Sustainability of the Kava Trade. The Contemporary Pacific 21 (2): 265-297.
Abstract: Sustainability of trade in kava, which was severely compromised by a 2002 ban
on exports from Pacific Islands to European pharmaceutical companies, has reached a new phase. Exporters vigorously fought the ban, imposed as a result of
claims that kava pills, sold as herbal remedies for reducing anxiety, sleeplessness,and depression, were toxic to the liver of individuals who took them. Concerted reaction by Pacific interests such as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat led to the
formation of the International Kava Executive Committee, which sought ways to
get the ban lifted. A 2007 World Health Organization report found that the process
of manufacturing the pills was more likely to be toxic to some pill takers than
the kavalactones drunk in traditional beverages; quality control and changing the
manufacturing process could allow exports of kava to Europe to resume.
Meanwhile, alternative outlets for sales of kava have been growing, which may help to sustain the kava trade and provide an income for farmers. Expanding
Pacific Islander communities in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States
are using kava to maintain identity ties to their homelands, such as Vanuatu,
Fiji, Tonga, and Pohnpei. In parallel, sales of kava within local communities are
increasing through markets, nakamal, and kava cafes, and Web sites promote the
product. These tracks for sustaining kava trade will need further development
throughout the Pacific region, and beyond.
Pages/Duration: 33 p.
ISSN: 1043-898X
Keywords: kava trade, Pacific, Vanuatu, European kava ban
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals

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