The Solomon Islands leading kava exporter, Varivao Holdings Ltd, is urging all local kava farmers to improve the quality of their output and productivity if Solomon Islands is to be a dominant player in the kava market.

The manager of Varivao Holdings Ltd, Mr Benjamin Hageria, says the call for farmers to improve the quality of their kava comes following feedback from some of the top kava buyers overseas.

“So, what our overseas buyers are saying is to avoid early harvest, do proper dry processing, and all chips must be removed and separated.

“Kava must be at least 3 or 4 years old before harvest, when you dry it do not forget to peel off and remove chips, that is important.”

Mr Hageria says Varivao Ltd is currently expanding and improving its production capacity in-country and will resume their normal kava purchasing as early as possible.

“Varivao is willing and looking forward to buy more kava from our local farmers throughout the provinces as soon as agreements with some of our new outside buyers are concluded and the upgrade of our own production facilities is complete to ensure we meet market standards”.

He says that although Varivao is well known locally they are still working hard to break into some of the more lucrative kava markets overseas. But to achieve that it is important that standards and quality are maintained by farmers.

“We urge farmers who wish to bring their kava produce to Varivao to follow our buyer’s requirements, we will give good buying price to those farmers who satisfy our kava processing requirements,” Mr. Hageria said.

He encourages farmers to continue to promote the country’s kava varieties by maintaining and adhering to quality standards, that way the Solomon kava brand will grow overseas.

Currently Varivao Holding Ltd. has more than 8 outside buyers and over 50 local sales outlets in Honiara and the provinces. He says Isabel and Temotu province still dominate kava production in Solomon Islands.