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‘Landmark’ $3.5m deal will bring more Fiji kava to Aussie shelves

More kava products are coming to Australia. Images: Getty
More kava products are coming to Australia. Images: Getty

The world’s first listed kava company, Fiji Kava has signed an exclusive $3.5 million deal with an Australian distributor to bring more kava products to Australians’ shelves.

Fiji Kava (ASX:FIJ) made the announcement to the ASX today that it would work with Pathway International to bring kava to the complementary medicine industries in Australia and New Zealand.

The three year deal is expected to generate revenue of $3.5 million and will see Pathway International distribute Fiji Kava kava extract to customers including Blackmores, Swisse, Sanofi and Vitaco.

Kava is a South Pacific plant with heart-shaped leaves and calming properties. Its extract is made from the powdered root of the plant.

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Fiji Kava CEO Zane Yoshida said the agreement highlights the popularity of the calming extract.

“[This] reflects the growing acceptance and demand for kava as a natural alternative to prescription medications in the treatment of anxiety and other disorders. We are pleased to be perfectly positioned to capitalise on the emerging market,” he said.

The CEO of Pathway International, Wayne Coote added that he was pleased to provide Pathway clients with quality extracts.

“Already, we have had strong indications of demand from many of our existing customers who are interested in this product and the therapeutic benefits it can offer to a broad consumer base.”

He said kava is “definitely becoming widely recognised” within the pharmaceutical industry as an alternative to a wide range of stress, anxiety and sleep medicines.

Sounds great, but I don’t want to wait. Can I already buy kava?

Currently, kava is a restricted import due to fears the abuse of kava was leading to negative outcomes in some indigenous communities.

It was introduced into some communities in the 1980s as a substitute to alcohol.

Long-term concentrated kava use can lead to skin ulcers, liver damage but small doses are associated with muscle relaxation, feelings of wellbeing and sleepiness. It’s dangerous for pregnant and breastfeeding women, those operating heavy machinery and those already taking pharmaceutical medicine.

However, Australians are allowed to bring in up to 2 kilograms in root or dried form outside of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Firms can also import kava for medicinal or scientific uses.

Australians can buy health products using kava extract online and at some Chemist Warehouse’s.

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