Facebook with Latestnigeriannews  Twieet with latestnigeriannews  RSS Page Feed
Home  |  All Headlines  |  Punch  |  Thisday  |  Daily Sun  |  Vanguard   |  Guardian  |  The Nation  |  Daily Times  |  Daily Trust  |  Daily Independent
World  |  Sports  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  Business  |  Politics  |  Tribune  |  Leadership  |  National Mirror  |  BusinessDay  |  More Channels...

Viewing Mode:


  1.     Tool Tips    
  2.    Collapsible   
  3.    Collapsed     
Click to view all Entertainment headlines today

Click to view all Sports headlines today

Kava crisis as Cyclone Pam devastates Vanuatu cultural crop

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 20 Mar 2015

By Stephen CoatesPORT VILA (Reuters) - The sprinkling of fairy lights on the roadside was the only sign of life as darkness descended and a curfew began in Vanuatu's shattered capital, Port Vila, in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam this week.Ignoring calls to stay at home, men were gathering among the debris of blasted trees and twisted corrugated iron to swap news of the storm over a drink of kava, a mildly intoxicating brew that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of Pacific islanders.Vanuatu escaped the worst with only 11 people confirmed dead. But as the rebuild begins, one concern is for the devastated kava crop, a major export and vital source of cash for subsistence farmers in the South Pacific island nation."The economy will be seriously affected. The tourism sector will be affected ... Kava will also be affected," Prime Minister Joe Natuman told Reuters in Port Vila.Vincent Lebot, a French geneticist based in Vanuatu, said that while accurate data was hard to come by, it appeared about a third of the country's kava crop had been destroyed.For the residents of the southern island of Tanna in particular, the loss was a huge blow. Tanna took the full force of the cyclone as it moved south with gusts topping 300 kph (185 mph)."The impact will be very severe on the local economy. Many children continue to go to school because their parents pay the school fees thanks to kava," Lebot said.On a national level, smaller kava production will mean lower exports, which had seen steady growth in recent years.According to the Vanuatu National Statistics Office, kava exports peaked in 2013 at 819 tonnes, worth 834 million vatu ($7.7 million).CULTURAL BLOWOf perhaps more importance is Kava's cultural significance."After kava you go to meditation and then you can communicate with the spirits," said Jacob Kapere, the chief of South Tanna and an expert on Vanuatu's culture.Alcohol was the most popular drink during Anglo-French rule - when the islands were known as the New Hebrides - but the Europeans' brew brought social problems and violence, he said.Kava had been the drink of chiefs and spiritual leaders until independence in 1980, when it also emerged as the country's favorite tipple and a major export, prized around the region."Kava is the dominant cultural icon for Pacifica people and the icon of identity for them," said Apo Aporosa, a researcher at New Zealand's Massey University.At the heart of the significance, Aporosa said, is the belief that kava possesses and transfers manna, a spiritual power. As such, it is used at almost every major event throughout a person's life."When a child is born, kava is presented and for a lot of Pacifica people, they believe that if you fail to do that, the child's life is cursed," Aporosa said.Kava rhizomes are harvested when the plant is typically three or four years old, although the longer it is left in the ground the more intoxicating it gets.Kava in Vanuatu is typically not dried, unlike in other Pacific Island nations, and as a result, it is exceptionally strong.One Port Vila resident, speaking to Reuters in an open-air kava bar after a few bowls of the muddy, bitter brew, said he wouldn't touch the kava from neighboring Fiji."It's like a shandy compared with a double Jack Daniels," said the man, who gave his name as just Sam.(Additional reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Robert Birsel)Join the conversation about this story
Click here to read full news..

All Channels Nigerian Dailies: Punch  |  Vanguard   |  The Nation  |  Thisday  |  Daily Sun  |  Guardian  |  Daily Times  |  Daily Trust  |  Daily Independent  |   The Herald  |  Tribune  |  Leadership  |  National Mirror  |  BusinessDay  |  New Telegraph  |  Peoples Daily  |  Blueprint  |  Nigerian Pilot  |  Sahara Reporters  |  Premium Times  |  The Cable  |  PM News  |  APO Africa Newsroom

Categories Today: World  |  Sports  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  Business  |  Politics  |  Columns  |  All Headlines Today

Entertainment (Local): Linda Ikeji  |  Bella Naija  |  Tori  |  Pulse  |  The NET  |  DailyPost  |  Information Nigeria  |  Gistlover  |  Lailas Blog  |  Miss Petite  |  Olufamous  |  Stella Dimoko Korkus Blog  |  Ynaija  |  All Entertainment News Today

Entertainment (World): TMZ  |  Daily Mail  |  Huffington Post

Sports: Goal  |  African Football  |  Bleacher Report  |  FTBpro  |  Kickoff  |  All Sports Headlines Today

Business & Finance: Nairametrics  |  Nigerian Tenders  |  Business Insider  |  Forbes  |  Entrepreneur  |  The Economist  |  BusinessTech  |  Financial Watch  |  BusinessDay  |  All Business News Headlines Today

Technology (Local): Techpoint  |  TechMoran  |  TechCity  |  Innovation Village  |  IT News Africa  |  Technology Times  |  Technext  |  Techcabal  |  All Technology News Headlines Today

Technology (World): Techcrunch  |  Techmeme  |  Slashdot  |  Wired  |  Hackers News  |  Engadget  |  Pocket Lint  |  The Verge

International Networks:   |  CNN  |  BBC  |  Al Jazeera  |  Yahoo

Forum:   |  Nairaland  |  Naij

Other Links: Home   |  Nigerian Jobs