The Impact of Kava Bans

Posted by on Mar 10, 2010 in The Mind of Makaira | 0 comments

The Impact of Kava BansAloha everyone!

I hope all of you are doing well! I have been extremely busy with the farm and with travel and business (as usual!), but I have also been sure to find time to relax and enjoy some time on this ever-beautiful island with my family (and our delicious kava, of course!).

I have been thinking quite a bit on a certain subject recently and I just wanted to share my thoughts with all of your. This is a problem that really causes distress and poverty for millions of people, and its not something that Americans or Europeans are necessarily made aware of very often. This is the problem of bans on certain plants which are both healing tools and essential sources of income for many of the people in the countries in which these plants grow.

Of course, I first started considering this problem in regards to kava. Kava is legal in many countries, including the United States, but it has also been banned in a number of countries. The most obvious example of such a ban, of course, is that of the kava ban in the European Union, which is shockingly still in place! In the 1990s, the European Union market accounted for about 200 million US dollars a year in kava income for producers in the Pacific Islands. But when a German pharmaceutical group suggested a link between kava and liver damage (no doubt because they saw the plant as threatening to their products), the crop was banned by the ENTIRE EU!

Producers in Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, as well as other Pacific Islands have been lobbying to have the ban lifted for years now. So far they have not been successful, and this is troubling, as the people in these countries truly need the income that exporting kava can bring them. Of course, it is also troubling that all citizens of the EU are prevented from having access to this wonderful, healing plant! Politicians and royalty from the EU have been stating that they do not support the ban for years now – Prince Charles expressed hopes that it would be lifted in 2005 – but so far, nothing concrete has been done. This is despite repeated studies proving that kava is completely safe!

This ban has caused a significant economic impact on kava growers, many of whom are already struggling for survival, and the longer the ban lasts, the more difficult it will become for them.

I find stories like these really sad…plants like kava have been used for thousands of years to heal and bring happiness. They are extremely beneficial for both body and mind and should be respected as the treasures that they are. Instead, they are treated with fear and trepidation and banned for selfish reasons. It is rare that anyone considers the impact that bans like these have on the peoples who rely on these plants for their livelihood and well being. That is why I wanted to mention this issue to all of you – the more people who are aware of things like this, the more likely we are to see change!

I am hoping that through our work at Kona Kava Farms we will be able to introduce more and more people to the incredible benefits of kava so that they will be able to respect and love this plant as much as I do. Maybe, in that way, we will come to live in a world where we can live in harmony with all of the wonderful creatures that live on this planet, both animal and plant! I’m also interested to know what all of you think of issues like these bans, so leave a comment and let me know!

Aloha no,

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