The question of “will Pentecost have kava factory one day?” remains unanswered until today.
While Pentecost farmers place in contrast other islands and how their natural resources have garnered them factories of their own such as Tanna with its coffee factory, noni farmers on the islands of Santo have a noni factory but Vanuatu’s green gold and the island that predominantly supplies the most of it doesn’t have a processing factory.
Recently, Minister for Trade, James Bule, erected a stone on a site where he expected to build a kava factory in Pentecost. The ceremony performed by Minister Bule and witnessed by chiefs on the island still hasn’t answered the plight of kava farmers because nothing eventuated from it.
Now the chickens have come home to roost, and the farmers who were made promises to are demanding answers.
Currently, kava farmers have to travel 222km to sell their kava in Port Vila, taking into account freight charges, table rent in the city and other taxes and fees that accumulate, this makes the decision to become a kava farmer less enticing.
Sadly, the trip is still made to this day and farmers still turn to the soil, hoping to make a big financial return for luxury when they can afford it, house repairs, diesel for their generators and school fees for the children.
The unsolicited conditions bestowed unto the farmers have led to unfortunate untold stories that have died off in the past.
From farmers who were forced to come to Port Vila to collect their money but never received it to some kava farmers who have already passed in life and still haven’t received the financial reward of what they planted and reaped.
A kava factory is the only solution for the kava farmers to get the true value of their product and to solve the current difficulties faced by them.
Although, with the recent turn of events since Minister Bule marked the land for a factory which was followed by a land dispute soon after, the dream of a Pentecost kava factory is likely to remain a dream.