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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Asia Pacific Viewpoint
Title Yaqona and the Fijian periphery revisited
Volume 48
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 234-249
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Sofer/publication/229451916_Yaqona_and_the_Fijian_perip​hery_revisited/links/0fcfd50cde0c9cdd08000000.pdf
This paper deals with some major economic issues concerning the Pacific plant kava,
known in Fiji as yaqona. The plant is the source of the cerebral depressant beverage found
throughout many of the Pacific Islands, which besides its daily use plays an important ceremonial and
social role in the indigenous culture. This paper deals with yaqona cultivation and commercialisation
in the Fijian peripheral island of Kadavu, from a perspective of more than 20 years. The findings
suggest that the role of the plant as a major cash crop is even more important than it was in the first
half of the 1980s. Moreover, the village semi-subsistence economy has become increasingly dependent
on this crop as part of its survival strategy. The explanations offered are related to physical and
ecological conditions and the associated agrotechnical advantages in Kadavu; marketing advantages
and worsening terms of trade experienced by the Fijian periphery; and the lack of other economic
opportunities in peripheral areas of Fiji, such as Kadavu – in turn, a function of core–periphery
relationships. This is a response of the periphery to the increasing marginalisation within the Fiji state
and may imply villagers’ and communities’ acceptance of their marginal position in the economy.

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