Happy new year to all our readers and welcome to 2017!
Vanuatu’s regional leadership of kava production and export has been dealt a blow with news this week of a shipment of adulterated kava being returned from New Zealand. Vanuatu’s primacy in the industry began with the recognition of Vanuatu as the original site of domestication of kava, the large number of noble kava varieties established here, and 2002’s Kava Act designed to protect consumers from poor quality kava. In 2016 Vanuatu was given responsibility for the FAO’s Codex Alimentarius research into the crop. Vanuatu’s main export competitor, Fiji, only established similar kava consumer protection legislation last year, and has many fewer noble varieties.
Over 600kg of dried, ground kava in a container exported by JPO Kava Export was returned from New Zealand as adulterated, reports Daily Post. Director of Vanuatu Biosecurity Dept Timothy Tumukon says the shipment looked to be mixed with ‘makas’—bark and root residue added to increase the Read the rest of this entry »
As negotiations for PACER Plus, the proposed regional free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island Countries draw to a close, we can now see what it contains—and more importantly, what it means for Vanuatu producers. Read the rest of this entry »
The plot thickens. After this blog broke the story last Friday, Radio Vanuatu News and Daily Post took the news of Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot and Phocea claimant Vu Anh Quan Saken meeting in Papua New Guinea a step further this morning. The Vanuatu Government says it is not aware of Minister Carlot’s visit to PNG, announced Government Public Relations Officer, Jeff Joel Patunvanu, after it was revealed that PNG Police are likely to arrest Carlot in relation to a transnational crime. This came to light after the arrival in PNG and arrest of Vu Anh Quan Saken and Charles Henry Saken on Thursday. Both are wanted in Vanuatu in connection with the mega-yacht Phocea saga. This is the luxury sailing boat in Vila Harbour detained by the Vanuatu Ports and Harbours Director despite the efforts of Prime Minister Sato Kilman to have the vessel released.
PNG authorities became suspicious about the Sakens’ arrival on a chartered Boeing 737 at Port Moresby’s Jackson airport after PNG officials received correspondence from the Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels requesting clearance for the Sakens, who were said to be both holding Vanuatu diplomatic passports. The Sakens made an unusual request for the 737’s crew to sleep on board during its stopover in Port Moresby, but this was denied by the PNG aviation authorities. PNG Police suspect there are quantities of cash on board as the Sakens arrived with large sacks, saying they would clean the plane, which had come from the Maldives and Singapore. The two Sakens were carrying false identity documentation and claimed they were in PNG on a private mission with Minister Carlot.
Reproduced below is a letter from the Embassy of Papua New Guinea requesting clearance for the Sakens: