Categorized | Agriculture

KCFA calls for ban on green coffee imports

MEDIA RELEASE

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association has passed a Resolution calling for an immediate suspension of green coffee imports into the state.

The decision was made by a Board vote Oct. 19, shortly after the discovery of Coffee Berry Borer in Kona’s coffee trees, and follows more than five years of requests to the HDOA to re-examine whether Hawaii’s import laws were sufficiently protecting Hawaii’s heritage crop from infestation by pests prevalent in other coffee growing regions.

“How did our Hawaii State Department of Agriculture fail us? How did the devastating pest get into Hawaii?” asked Christine Sheppard, a former Kona Coffee farmer. “One of the most critical duties of the HDOA is to prevent introduction and spread of pests and diseases harmful to Hawaii agriculture.”

Because of its extreme isolation, Hawaii has been one of only two places in the world free of the Coffee Cherry Borer. Imported green coffee is regularly brought into Kailua-Kona and places in the State of Hawaii to be mixed with 100% Kona to create Kona Blends and to create other coffee mixtures.

“Hawaii unlike other coffee growing regions, allows imports of green coffee and the only way to stop any further destruction and avoid the even more devastating coffee rust, is to ban green imports immediately”, said Bruce Corker, President of the KCFA.

Coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix) is a fungus which begins by destroying coffee leaves and eventually entire farms, and it arrives as a microscopic spore.

“That would end coffee cultivation as it has been for the last 182 years in Kona”, said Kona coffee farmer Bob Smith. “Green imports should be immediately banned into Hawaii if we want to keep our heritage Kona coffee viable.”

Fully participating with the state-wide Coffee Cherry Borer Task Force, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association has appointed Smith as its delegate.

Kona Coffee Farmers Association
Resolution of Oct. 19, 2010

RESOLUTION CALLING FOR THE IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF GREEN COFFEE IMPORTS INTO HAWAII

1 — WHEREAS, one of the critical duties of the HDOA and its Plant Quarantine and Plant Pest Control Branches is to prevent introduction and spread of pests and diseases harmful to Hawaii agriculture;

2 — WHEREAS, in the past month it has been discovered that the HDOA has failed to prevent the introduction of coffee berry borer (CBB) into Hawaii County — a failure that the HDOA itself predicts will dramatically reduce Kona coffee yields;

3 — WHEREAS, the HDOA for years has ignored requests from Kona’s coffee farmers to ban, as do other coffee growing regions, the importation of foreign green coffee beans in order to prevent the introduction of coffee berry borer, coffee rust, and other diseases and pests;

4 — WHEREAS, the HDOA has failed to provide any reasonable explanation as to how CBB and other pests such as varroa mite and little fire ants were introduced into Hawaii County and has failed to establish corrective procedures and practices to prevent similar introductions in the future;

5 — WHEREAS, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association has lost confidence in the ability of the HDOA’s current measures to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases damaging to agriculture;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association:

Calls for the Hawaii State Legislature to initiate an immediate suspension of the importation of foreign green coffee beans into the State of Hawaii.

The KCFA Board Secretary is requested to send copies of this Resolution to the HDOA Chair, to the Governor of Hawaii, and to members of the Hawaii State Legislature.

Adopted by the Board of Directors of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association on Oct. 19, 2010.

Christy Carrico, Acting Secretary

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