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Kanuha Recognized by Hawaiʻi Coffee Association

August 21, 2021, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated August 21, 10:11 AM
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Presenting Hawaiʻi Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha (center left) with the Hawaii Coffee Associationʻs first-ever Legislator of the Year Award are from left: Brittany Horn, HCA secretary; Tom Greenwell, HCA vice-president; Chris Manfredi, HCA president; Alla Kostenko, HCA event coordinator and Madeleine Longoria Garcia, HCA Cafe Collective Committee chair. (PC: Hawaiʻi Coffee Association)

For the first time ever, the Hawaiʻi Coffee Association (HCA) presented a Legislator of the Year award to Sen. Dru Mamo Kanuha (D-Kona, Kaʻu) for his work in protecting the Big Islandʻs coffee industry.

The Hawaiʻi Senate Majority Leader introduced and shepherded the passage of legislation (SB855 SB1 HD1 CD1) to extend the Hawaiʻi Department of Agricultureʻs Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) Pesticide Subsidy Program and expand it to include control of the industryʻs latest disease challenge: Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR).

The legislation extends the sunset date of the program to June 2023 and stipulates annual subsidy caps per acre of treated coffee.

“While our coffee industry has been challenged by CBB, CLR and impacts relating to COVID, the state legislature has faced unprecedented COVID-induced budgetary constraints,” stated HCA President Chris Manfredi during the awards ceremony. “Nonetheless, Senator Kanuha listened to and understood our challenges, and championed this subsidy extension and expansion to include CLR management. This will make life a good deal easier for Hawaiʻi’s coffee farmers and help ensure their viability. We thank him for his leadership.”

CBB was discovered in Hawaiʻi first in Kona in 2010 and it can be difficult to control. Female beetles lay eggs inside the coveted coffee bean to feed its brood. Farmers fight CBB with an integrated pest management (IPM) program that includes farm sanitation and a biological control material bought commercially.

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CLR can cause plant defoliation resulting in reduced photosynthetic capacity and tree dieback. First detected on Maui and Hawaiʻi Island last October, the devastating pathogen can be controlled with an EPA-approved fungicide as part of an IPM plan.

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The Hawaiʻi Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees. A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention.

Learn more about the HCA at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

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