Funding Boosted For Battle Against Coffee Berry Borer
The US Department of Agriculture has committed an additional $1 million to battle the coffee berry borer, a pest that first began attacking Big Island farms nearly four years ago.
Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said $700,000 of the USDA funding will be used in Hawaii and $300,000 will go to Puerto Rico.
The funding is on top of $1 million last year from the USDA to develop an integrated management system to battle the beetle that has caused more than $9 million in damage to the state’s coffee crops since 2010.
“This $700,000 award to further fund the Coffee Plant Health Initiative program in Hawai‘i will help researchers combat this and other new invasive pests, and will also help to restore our farmers’ ability to grow and market world-class coffee, which is the only domestically grown coffee our country has to offer,” Gabbard said in a statement issued today.
Hawaii coffee farmers will also get some assistance in the form of House Bill 1514 which was passed during the recent legislative session.
The measure appropriates $500,000 for a five-year plan which partially subsidizes the purchase of pesticides containing a fungus which kills the beetle.