Kava (Piper methysticum) is a member of the pepper family. Native to the Pacific islands, kava has been used for cultural and medicinal purposes for centuries.

The kava root is used to produce a drink with sedative, even euphoric effects. While this drink continues to be used in traditional rituals, it has also grown in popularity as a relaxing recreational beverage. With more and more being consumed internationally, kava represents a growing trend toward embracing medicinal properties of natural supplements.

Santal Valley’s agro-forestry works together with our location’s well-drained soils, optimal rainfall, and mild climate to help our kava plants thrive.

Santal Valley complies with the rigorous quality and standards put in place by the Vanuatu Kava Act of 2014, which regulates the quality of kava exports. We are also active in the Vanuatu Kava Industry Association to support industry interests and to ensure the maintenance of quality and standards. Currently, we primarily export to Spain.

The domestic kava industry is valued at VT2 billion ($200 million USD) per annum. In 2019, Vanuatu exported a total of 819 tons of kava, generating revenues of VT834 million (~$7 million USD). The average freight-on-board (FOB) export price from Port Vila for noble kava root (cut, cleaned, dried, and sorted) is currently around $40 per kilogram.

The National Kava Strategy (2016-2025) outlines the Vanuatu government’s commitment to strengthening the kava value chain, including the propagation of planting materials, the planting and maintenance of kava plants, processing and value-adding opportunities, and marketing the trade of kava.

Santal Valley’s whole-of-value-chain approach ensures maximum return on investment in the kava industry. The 2020 CODEX Alimentarius approved kava products for use as a beverage when mixed with water, providing good potential for this Pacific green gold to access more global markets.