Price of Kava Rising in the Pacific Islands

Price of Kava Rising in the Pacific Islands

All over the South Pacific, the price of kava is going up. The farmers seem to be benefiting from this greatly, however the Kava community and all of the traditions that surround it are starting to take a hit. After Cyclone Winston hit last February, a majority of Kava plantations were completely destroyed, which caused this beloved plant to become unusually scarce. Couple this with the overall collapse of the Kava market in the 2000s and what you have now are soaring Kava prices. This is becoming a pretty big problem due to the rise in popularity of kava in western countries. The demand is going up, but the supply is very low. Prices are now 2-3 times what they were just one year ago.

Kava-Farmers

Since kava takes a minimum of about 3 years to harvest, the market is going to take some time to fully recover from the damage caused by Winston. The government, as well as farmers and entrepreneurs, are working hard to modernize the cultivation process of kava in hopes that meeting the product demands from western countries(Mainly the US) will help the poverty situation in rural areas. With prices rising, and US kava Consumption nearly doubled over the past 5 years, who knows what kind of effect this could have on the South Pacific economy once kava production is back to where it needs to be. Many experts are predicting Western kava demand to grow a lot more over the next few years, which would be very reminiscent of the Kava boom of the 1990s.
 
The Shortage is even having a negative effect on the overall quality of kava. Some Merchants have resorted to some unethical practices such as mixing kava with other plants to make you seem like your getting more than you actually are. This is also a very common practice among street drug dealers because it helps them turn a higher profit. This is one of the reasons why it’s important that when shopping for Kava online, that you get it from a reputable source.

Locals-Consuming-Kava

Another problem with kava becoming scarce is that it’s a large part of the social culture in South Pacific countries like Fiji and Vanuatu. If Kava becomes too expensive for the locals to consume then they may turn to alcohol or drugs as a replacement. Kava can be very relaxing and even a bit euphoric when consumed and some of the Islanders may have a very hard time giving it up.

For more information on this topic, check out our blog post on the Kava Shortage in Fiji.

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