A potential increase in, and diversification of exports is the growing international market for ‘relaxation drinks’. Kava, widely drunk in Fiji and elsewhere across the Pacific, has calming, relaxing properties. However, to tap into this market it is essential to produce and process large volumes of particular varieties of Yaqona (the plant from which Kava is made) in a standardised and organised manner to guarantee quality and consistency of the final product.
South Pacific Elixirs has recently established itself locally to produce a fruit-flavored kava infused beverages targeting the growing relaxation market in the United States and other export markets. South Pacific Elixirs has developed a unique way of processing kava to produce six naturally fruit-flavored kava drinks, branded as TakiMai. The drinks use Fijian grown kava which is sourced and processed in its facility on Ovalau Island. The TakiMai product is a unique opportunity for Fijian kava farmers to access export markets through the processing a local crop, which is a major and traditional source of income, to meet international tastes.
To meet its projected demand for TakiMai, three specific varieties of kava are required. To ensure that farmers are planting enough of these varieties, South Pacific Elixirs is establishing a supply system to create a consistent volume and standardised quality. This includes a mixed system of a company-run nucleus farm, an outgrowers scheme, and nurseries to reproduce and supply farmers with the selected varieties for planting. The outgrowers scheme will help farmers to plant the right varieties and help them to improve their farming practices, and increase their yields, turnover and income.
South Pacific Elixirs has taken steps to become HACCP compliant to gain greater market access internationally, which could lead to South Pacific Elixirs sourcing from an even larger number of kava farmers throughout Fiji. As the TakiMai brand expands, South Pacific Elixirs will begin to source kava from other areas around Fiji, improving Fijian kava farmers’ access to export markets.