Pacific Kava Industry: Better Data Needed to Support Industry Growth


Pacific Data 'Community of Practice' Talanoa Session

Pacific Kava Industry: Better Data Needed to Support Industry Growth


Kava is an important commodity for Pacific Island Countries and territories with significant cultural, social, and economic value. The Kava industry is wide and diverse, spanning the agriculture, trade, hospitality, and even medical sectors.

However, despite its status in the region the industry does not adequately collect and/or utilise the data needed to better manage its product supply chain.

SPC-Pacific Data Hub Programme is pleased to invite you to participate in our upcoming Pacific Data 'Community of Practice' talanoa session on Friday October 22nd, 2021, at 2 PM Fiji time.

This 'Pacific Kava Industry: Better Data Needed to Support Industry Growth' talanoa session will feature industry experts and practitioners discussing issues around kava data collection, its importance and how data collection can help shape better policies in the region.

Please use the information below to register and to join the call this Friday. 

Registration form:



  • Dr Tess Newton Cain, Project Lead, Pacific Hub, Griffith Asia Institute: Dr Tess Newton Cain is the Project Leader for the Griffith Asia Institute's Pacific Hub. Within that role she assists with curation for the Pacific Outlook section of the Griffith Asia Insights blog.
    Tess is a dual citizen of Vanuatu and the United Kingdom. She is a former Lecturer in Law at the University of the South Pacific. She has lived and worked in the Pacific islands region for almost 25 years, with most of that time spent living in Vanuatu.
    Tess' research interests focus on politics, policy and development in the Pacific islands region. She has provided research. strategic advice and policy support to national governments, regional organisations (including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat) and development partners (including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations, and the governments of Australia and New Zealand).
    In 2019, Tess led a research team on behalf of Peacifica and the Whitlam Institute which led to the report: Pacific perspectives on the world published in February 2020. She has recently co-authored two policy briefs with Dr Wesley Morgan, published by the Griffith Asia Institute—Activating greater trade and investment between Australia and Pacific island countries and Strengthening Australia's relationships with Pacific island countries.
    Tess provides comment and analysis for media outlets in the Pacific islands region, Australia, New Zealand, and across the world.


  • David F Abbott, Manager, Data Analysis and Dissemination, SPC's Statistics for Development Division: David has been a development economist specialising in the Pacific region for over 40 years. He has worked in almost all Pacific Island Countries and Territories and has extensive experience in economic policy research and analysis. He has been a leader in the analysis of household survey (HIES) data contributing to the compilation of SDG indicators on hardship and poverty. Between 2006 and 2010 David was Team Leader of the Pacific Regional Poverty Reduction team at the UNDP Pacific Centre, following this he was team leader of an Institutional Strengthening Project for the Samoa Bureau of Statistics. He has also undertaken many consulting assignments in the region, including on the analysis of poverty and vulnerability using household survey and census data for many Pacific Island Countries and Territories. He has also undertaken assessments of social protection and social exclusion in a number of Pacific Island Countries and Territories and has been the author of reports and papers on Pacific poverty, hardship and vulnerability, and the macroeconomic and inclusive development challenges facing the Pacific region. David is now the Manager, Data Analysis and Dissemination in the Statistics for Development Division of SPC.


  • Michael Louze, Kava Exporter and Chair, Vanuatu Kava Industry Association: Michael's background is in agriculture, and he has been involved in the kava industry for around twenty years.  Michael started his career in the kava industry as Manager for PRV kava plantation, exporting to Germany prior to the German kava ban, then with Valele Trust in Santo.  He now owns and manages South Seas Commodities, a small export company, exporting quality noble kava mainly to the US and New Caledonian market.
    Michael is the current chair of the Vanuatu Kava Industry Association, focused on creating and maintaining dialogue between members, the kava industry, Government and the private sector which is key for the development of the entire kava industry from farming to processing and marketing.
  • Tanuvasa Semy Siakimotu, Kava Adviser, PHAMA Plus program: Tanuvasa Semy Siakimotu is an Australian-Pacific Islander living in Canberra, Australia. He is currently working as Biosecurity and Environmental Safeguard Adviser (BESA) and Kava adviser for the PHAMA Plus program, an Aid for Trade program funded jointly by the Australian and New Zealand governments.Tanuvasa is passionate about the Pacific and its people and strives to make a positive contribution to the region through the PHAMA Plus program.
    In Tanuvasa’s role with the program, he is responsible for the translation of better practice into (Pacific) context by ensuring the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS), environmental safeguard and climate change lessons and theory are considered in all activity planning and implementation across the PHAMA Plus program. Through the National Facilitators for the PHAMA Plus program, he works closely with Pacific governments and private sector stakeholders to discuss and provide technical advice and guidance on production and market constraints associated with the export of kava and other value-added products.
    Prior to joining the PHAMA Plus program, Tanuvasa worked for the Australian Department of Agriculture in Plant Biosecurity for over 10 years and spent 2 years on a research project at CSIRO’s Plant Industry to measure below ground carbon based on land use.
    Outside work, he tries to be useful around the house.



Whatch the Zoom replay below, using this passcode: &!af8U3Q .

Joint Event
Joint Partner
Griffith Asia Institute, VKIA, Pharma Plus


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Pacific Data Hub
Statistics for Development
Pacific Data Hub
Statistics for Development