How sustainable is the Kava industry?

August 17, 2017

How sustainable is the Kava industry?

It’s no surprise that kava has become increasingly popular in mainstream society given its health benefits and natural healing properties. However, a supply and demand crisis in the kava industry is starting to take place. Here’s the reasoning behind this shortage and what it means for the future of kava: 

Why is there a shortage of kava?

The demand for Kava has never been so high with European countries slowly lifting their unjustified regulations on Kava and the rise of the American Kava Bar.  An increase in natural disasters has taken a toll on kava crops. In 2015, Vanuatu, a big kava grower in the Pacific Islands was hit by a Category 5 cyclone. Fiji has been experiencing serious drought due to El Niño, causing them to lose crops and water supplies. Fiji isn’t the only kava-growing island to experience drought brought on by El Niño. Tonga and Micronesia are also being affected.

Kava takes roughly three to five years to mature and a lot of South Pacific farmers choose to farm faster yielding crops like Taro and Cassava, with only a little Kava on the side.  Kava also only grows well on the volcanic soils of the Pacific islands. This geographical restriction gives Kava farms very little room to work with to meet the expanding global demand.

Kava was also traditionally only consumed by men during kava drinking ceremonies but is now shifting, with more female kava consumption taking place. In Tonga, women are breaking tradition by drinking kava. Men typically drank kava sitting around the bowl while women served it. However, there has been an increase in female kava drinkers due to its social aspects and growing female drinking groups. From men to women, from the South Pacific Islands to the United States and beyond, kava will remain in high demand for its sedative and relaxing powers.

Are Kava prices expected to rise?

According to the Chair of the Fiji Kava Council, the prices of kava have gone up roughly 76 percent due to severely limited resources. In Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, fresh kava goes for almost triple the amount it did two years ago.

However, here at Kavafied, we are determined to put our customers first by keeping our emphasis on creating innovative ways to experience Kava while still providing quality Kava root at a reasonable price. 

What does this mean for the future of kava?

According to Dr. Vincent Lebot, a scientist with the Ministry of Agriculture, even Fiji, a high-producing kava island, is buying kava in large amounts from Vanuatu due to another cyclone. Because of this, and the growing popularity of kava, Michael Louzé, the Chief Executive of South Seas Commoditie, states that he has been unable to keep up with national and international demands. He actively encourages local farmers to get involved in the kava growing business, especially because it is both lucrative and in high demand. 

Kavafied is here for your kava needs

Despite the growing demand and decreasing supply of kava, we are determined to bring you quality kava at an affordable price. Embrace the soothing powers of kava and relax your body and mind. Visit our online store to purchase our kava root powder and innovative Kava products like the AluBall

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