Dear Editor,

I read with interest the news item by Jimmy Nolan "Kava Farmers Need to Focus on Quality Not Quantity".

Mr. Nolan quoted the Manager of Varivao Holdings encouraging farmers to harvest their crops 3-4 years after planting and not less.

He also emphasized on post harvesting and handling practices, where chips and roots must be properly washed, peeled and separated. This is the crux of the matter.

Whilst this call came from a major kava exporter, it would have been better government's responsible Ministry- the Ministry of Agriculture takes this matter seriously in 2021 and invest in conducting training and onsite workshops for farmers and businesses involving in the kava value chain.

Kava trading activities have scaled down since November 2020 and farmers are wondering what is happening? It is going 3 months, yet kava exporters are yet to resume buying. Farmers are asking what is happening? There is also the ESP Kava support to farmers in which Government hopes to roll out soon in 2021.

It is advisable, with the limited resources it has on disposal, government should focus on investing in kick starting buying and selling activities in the value chain. Help farmers to clear their stock, whilst concurrently addressing current challenges one of which is quality post harvest practices before investing more resources at the farm level.

Much better to address quality issues when production base is still lower, than when production base becomes broadened, the challenges may become tough to address and farmers may have very high expectations that cannot be met.