SUVA, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The Fijian government on Friday encouraged more Fijian women to enter into Kava or Yaqona farming because it is a lucrative business that uplifts the lives of families.
Fiji's Acting Senior Agriculture Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture Bua Inise Sakoro said that Kava was no longer a crop that could only be planted by men, as practised previously.
Kava is a traditional drink made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum) with water. The root of the plant is used to produce an entheogenic drink with sedative, anaesthetic and euphoria properties. Its active ingredients are called Kava lactones.
Consuming it results in a numb feeling around the mouth, lips and tongue and gives one a sense of relaxation. The good price of Kava was encouraging Fijian women to take up farming.
"You can see there is an increase in women participating in farming. It's because of the lucrative market especially in Kava/Yaqona and there is interest coming from our women farmers," said Sakoro.
Sakoro is encouraging more Fijian women to take up Kava farming to help uplift their livelihood and that of their communities.
Fiji's agriculture industry recorded more than 200 million Fijian dollars (about 94.98 million U.S. dollars) in losses following the devastating effects of tropical cyclone Winston, and Kava experienced severe supply shortages resulting in a price hike of up to 120 Fijian dollars (about 56.98 U.S. dollars) per kg.
In Fiji, Kava is a 320 million Fijian dollars (about 151.98 million U.S. dollars) economy with domestic sales being valued at 92 percent and exports at 8 percent.
The 2015 statistics said that more than 20,000 farms or 58.3 percent of farms in Fiji produced Kava.