PHAMA Plus Helps to Boost Quality of ‘Ava for Domestic and Export Markets

"This support will allow them to streamline operations and maintain the consistency and quality of their ‘ava supply"

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Kava (‘ava) farmers on the big island of Savaii in Samoa, will soon enjoy the benefits of being able to supply higher quality, processed ‘ava to their customers for both domestic and export markets.

Five commercial ‘ava farmers are partnering with the Australia and New Zealand supported Pacific Horticultural & Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) Program, to co-invest in improved processing facilities that would include power washers, solar dryers and pounding equipment.

PHAMA Plus Country Manager in Samoa, Kuinimeri Finau, said the processing facilities will allow each farmer to grow their ‘ava business through a consistent focus on high standards and quality.

“Improving the quality of ‘ava is a priority for PHAMA Plus. By partnering with local commercial ‘ava farmers, we are able to make the most of the opportunities that exist across domestic and export markets for higher volumes of quality ‘ava,” she said.

Eteuati Eteuati Sulutolu, Anaua Fui Tulialo and Mauai Tanielu Nuuletau are three of the farmers that will benefit from PHAMA Plus support through the establishment of pounding facilities on their plantations in Savaii.

“This support will allow them to streamline operations and maintain the consistency and quality of their ‘ava supply,” added the PHAMA Plus Country Manager.

“One of the main limitations these farmers face is the ‘ava pounding process, the most laborious part of the processing operations and one which has a major impact on the end quality of the product.”

Kuinimeri Finau says PHAMA Plus is supporting Samoa’s efforts to revive its ‘ava industry in other areas such as assisting in the development of National ‘Ava Standards, and more recently, providing support to a local ‘ava exporter – Satuala Developments, to establish a solar dryer.

PHAMA Plus, in collaboration with the PACER Plus Implementation Unit, also recently established a kava pounding facility in the district of Fagaloa in Upolu.

The initiative has been greatly received by the community and has paved the way for the same idea to be promoted in other communities and now for individuals, such as these three farmers in Savaii.

An additional two farmers, Mimita Avea Vaoga and Tony Tuaiaufai will receive solar dryers, addressing the delays they currently face in drying the ava due to irregular weather patterns.

PHAMA Plus has been working in Samoa since 2011 to maintain and improve existing market access, and create new markets by developing the capacity of the public and private sectors to meet export market requirements.

A key part of this work includes facilitating the use of solar dryers in Samoa, which has been adopted by PHAMA Plus partners in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, to increase product quality, export volumes and returns to both exporters and farmers.