USP helps develop Kava product

IAS Director William Aalbersberg (L) poses with Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Honourable Inia Seruiratu during the launch.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) has contributed to the development of a new kava product known as “Taki Mai”.

The product was officially launched in the country by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Honourable Inia Seruiratu on November 20, 2014.

“IAS developed the process to extract the active ingredients from green kava which is then added to flavoured drinks by a United States firm and packaged in a small opaque bottle,” IAS Director William Aalbersberg said.

“After extracting active ingredients we found a process to dry the extract so that it could be added to the flavouring agents,” he said.

“Typically for something like coffee this is done with a very expensive freeze drying machine to make soluble crystals.”

He said IAS succeeded in this and the process has been upscaled at the factory in Ovalau.

In delivering his address, Hon Seruiratu congratulated the “Taki Mai” team for the successful launch of their product.

“We all know the potential and opportunities in Fiji’s agricultural sector. A holistic approach is needed to utilize the full potential and this requires significant efforts from our stakeholders,” he said.

The Minister said “Taki Mai” was involved directly from the nurturing and selection of Kava seedlings in the nursery, transplanting to the field, harvesting and carefully selecting kava plants, quality control, processing of kava in the factory in Ovalau.

“We aim to modernise Fiji’s agricultural sector and contribute more to GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and create employment opportunities,” he said.

According to him the Ministry of Agriculture is committed to see more of such initiatives developed and supported for other commodities in other parts of Fiji which would benefit the whole community as part of the economic spin.

Meanwhile, the Project Manager Zane Yoshida said it was a huge effort from whole of his team to get this idea off the ground.

“We would like to thank and acknowledge the contribution made by USP on the research side of this product. I am excited about this launch of the product in the Fiji market which brings back the highest kava quality,” he said.

Zane also highlighted that kava was part of the pepper family and used in the Pacific for over 300 years.

Reference: This article was taken from USP News Webpage dated 24 November 2014 02:50:42 pm

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