The commitment of Kadavu Kava Farmers’ Co-operative Limited (KKFCL) in developing the kava industry on the island received recognition and a boost following the recent commissioning of a Kava Processing Shed and pounding machine at Vunisea, Kadavu.
The facility, which will benefit kava farmers on the island was made possible through close collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and KKFCL and is a milestone achievement as it is the first of its kind for Kadavu.
While commissioning the project, Ministry of Agriculture’s Director Crop Extension, Paula Tuione acknowledged the contributions made by Kadavu kava farmers in driving the development of the commodity despite their many challenges.
“This initiative is a symbol of progress and links the vision that the Kadavu Kava Farmers’ Cooperative has towards the development of its farmers.
“Kadavu is well known for the cultivation of yaqona despite the hardships in geographical location and condition of the island, you still find solutions to combat this and this project ushers in a new dawn for the people of Kadavu and it depends on you to do your best to move Kadavu, and this partnership, forward,” he added.
Tuione highlighted that the project was in line with the Ministry of Agriculture’s vision towards a sustainable livelihood for Fiji stating; “The Ministry has viewed the sustainable development of the whole value chain, from the farmer to the market and we have looked into the improvement of farmhouses as well to raise the standard of yaqona pounding to another level,” he said.
“It is encouraging to see the linkage of Kadavu Kava Farmers’ Cooperative Limited’s vision unfolding so farmers can witness and experience the returns and impact of Yaqona to farmers in rural areas,” said Mr. Tuione.
Members of KKFCL and kava farmers were also challenged to compete for the international market and to meet market demands.
“From what we have achieved and witnessed today, we can move further and proceed to another level of competition and it is your duty as yaqona farmers to step up to the challenge,” he said.
The processing shed and pounding machine development assistance which was worth $210,000.00 is part of the Rural and Outer Islands Program (ROI) under the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Kadavu Kava Farmers’ Co-operative Limited was established in 2017 with the aim of assisting farmers to develop the commodity and to provide support to kava farmers.