East Hawaii News

Bill Would Subsidize Use of Fungus Against Coffee Borer

February 27, 2014, 5:42 PM HST
* Updated February 27, 5:43 PM
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Legislation that would boost the battle against a major coffee pest is making its way through the state House.

House Bill 1514, introduced by Kona Rep. Nicole Lowen, would help farmers in their fight against the coffee berry borer by subsidizing their use of the Beauvaria bassiana fungus which kills the beetle.

The subsidy program would be administered by the state Department of Agriculture.

The bill was approved unanimously Wednesday by the House Finance Committee, which amended it by reducing the amount of funding to $250,000 for the next fiscal year.

When it was approved last month by the Agriculture Committee, the bill still contained its original appropriation of $3 million.

The beetle was found in Kona in 2010 and has since spread to coffee farms in Ka`u.

The bill notes that coffee is the state’s fourth-leading crop.

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