Following the lifting of the German ban on kava in February last year, the European Union recently announced that it would carry out a new kava study.
This should comes as welcome news to kava fans everywhere, who have seen the reputation of their beloved root dragged through the mud in the past decade or so; until recently a ban in Germany, and restrictions placed in Europe, the US, and Australia, have hampered exports of our prized crop.
What is the proposed kava study for?
Radio New Zealand reported that the Vanuatu Ambassador, Roy Mickey Joy, announced that the European Union has agreed to carry out a study into kava with the aid of a legal firm, and that it will “consider a submission to the Technical Barriers to Trade programme”.
A two-day conference is planned in Brussels involving all the key stakeholders in the Pacific who are leaders in kava, and its outcome will be shared with the firm conducting the kava investigation.
The 7-month investigation will look at the “legal, scientific and trade aspects of kava” and lead to a ministerial conference in order to discuss a roadmap that would address the issue of the kava ban.
Depending on the results of this study, more export markets may be opened up globally for kava, so it is an important event for the economies of the South Pacific island nations.
The importance of raising the quality of kava
An important initiative for the future of kava in the South Pacific is raising its quality.
The Samoan government was recently urged to help support a plan for controlling the quality of exported kava by a German scientist and European kava expert. He was visiting kava-producing countries in the region as part of a study, encouraging them to focus on producing “noble” kava, which is of a very high quality.
Zane Yoshida and South Pacific Elixirs, makers of Taki Mai kava supplements, have been involved in several kava quality initiatives recently:
- Developing our elite kava nurseries to grow the highest possible grade of disease-free kava
- Partnering with Douglas Pharmaceuticals to produce medicinal grade kava
- Becoming certified in Australia as a therapeutic good
- Receiving HACCP and GMP certification
Let’s hope that the EU study finds what we all know already – that kava is not only safe, but has many relaxation and anti-anxiety benefits too.
Perhaps the name of kava will be cleared once and for all. Its health benefits have already been proven in many studies and the isolated cases of adverse effects of kava are dwarfed millions of times over by those of alcohol: a commonly-accepted substance on sale almost everywhere around the world.