Although kava has been consumed by South Pacific islanders for centuries upon centuries, there have been some misguided attempts to reduce kava consumption. As a sad result there have been occasional dips in the amount of kava that is being consumed within the South Pacific and abroad.
We’re now on to a more pleasing time within kava history – Fijian reports are in and it’s official, kava consumption is on the rise in Fiji!!
With what could perhaps be considered one of the more tragic points within kava history (the series of bans resulting from the BfArM’s inconclusive studies regarding kava and liver toxicity), there was a severe decline in the consumption of kava worldwide. Unfortunately, this too had negative results in the South Pacific – as the global market for kava decreased, so did the kava-growing plantations on the islands, and with that many jobs were lost as well.
And it wasn’t too long ago that the Fijian government had attempted to ban kava drinking on certain days within some of its very own villages! As Commissioner Eastern Natani Riki explained, kava was being blamed for some of the social and economic development issues within iTaukei island populations.
However, bright and better days are upon us! It seems as though that ban never went through and the councils involved seem to have come to their good senses and realized that kava is actually very beneficial and helps the people to cope with their social and economic struggles. After all, without so many kava farms many of the iTaukei people would be left unemployed and a huge market for trade capital would be diminished.
The Fiji Times Online has just published an article outlining official statistics with regard to kava consumption in Fiji and it is my hope that these statistics reflect the global kava-drinking market as well.
However, due to a few conflicting points it is unclear how recent these particular statistics are. The article reports, 1. a rise in kava consumption from 1993-2004, 2. that the survey is conducted every ten years, and 3. that the survey was launched just this last Friday – none of these points seem to coincide. If these statistics are conducted every 10 years, then how come the years listed are already ten years past? What I think is meant, is that the last survey of 1993-2004 indicated an uprise of kava drinking and that the survey launched on Friday also reported positive feedback.
Either way, here are some quick and beautiful statistics as reported in the survey conducted by the Health Ministries’ National Food and Nutrition Centre:
- The male drinking population is up by just about 10% and the female drinking population is up by just over 15%. Woo hoo! Although kava is traditionally only consumed by men – those traditional standards seem to be dissipating, allowing more and more women to share in the joys of kava on the islands.
- About 70% of the Fijian population drinks kava at least two times a week.
- A whopping 90% of Fiji adolescents reportedly drink kava at least twice a week. This could suggest just how much of a healthy opportunity kava could provide as an alternative to drinking alcohol in the United States and elsewhere that alcohol consumption is heavy amongst adolescents. All the more reason to keep those kava bars coming!
With the nearly global legal status of kava, I would wager a bet that there has been a fairly stark increase in kava-drinking populations all around the world and that the love of the South Pacific is well on its way to becoming a global icon of bliss and well being.
Cheers to kava and prospering joy!
Sauvakacolo, Siteri. “Kava on the Up”. The Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=283640.