Australia and NZ Supports Satuala Development to Adopt a Self-build Solar Dryer Kava Quality

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Better drying to boost kava quality

Satuala Developments will soon see improvements in the processing of its kava with the installation of a solar dryer, following an agreement being signed with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) program.

The Australia and New Zealand supported program is supporting Satuala to adopt a self-build solar dryer for their kava, which uses a greenhouse-style model that has proven successful drying cocoa beans and kava in other Pacific countries.

With over 30 years in a family-owned agri-business, Satuala Developments grows taro, taamu and kava. Satuala supplies kava in the local market and recently started exporting to the demanding US market which is supplied with product from its own plantation and from nearby farmers.

The owners of Satuala Developments, Aliimalemanu Ropati and Misileti Satuala, said, “one of the main constraints for our business is bad weather, which delays the drying as kava is put out to dry on mats in the open sun. When it rains, the kava can get mouldy, which lowers the quality of the product.”

PHAMA Plus Country Manager, Asuao Kirifi Pouono highlighted; “We are keen to see the technology being adopted by Satuala Developments, and hope to help others to adopt these sorts of dryers.”

PHAMA Plus has been facilitating the use of solar dryers in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, PNG and Samoa, to increase product quality, export volumes and returns to both exporters and farmers.