Hawaii Coffee Association Presents Legislature Award
The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) presented Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha (D-Kona, Kaʻu) with its first ever Legislator of the Year Award amid coffee trees laden with ripening fruit. The Hawaii Senate Majority Leader received an appreciation plaque crafted from a century-old fallen koa tree that once flourished at Kona’s Greenwell Farms.
Senator Kanuha introduced and shepherded the passage of recent legislation to extend the Hawaii Department of Agricultureʻs Coffee Berry Borer Pesticide Subsidy Program and expand it to include control of the industryʻs latest disease challenge: Coffee Leaf Rust. 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,” noted 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 Hawaii’s coffee farmers and help ensure their viability. We thank him for his leadership.”
Endemic to Central Africa, CBB was discovered in Hawaii 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.
CLR was first discovered in Sri Lanka in 1869 and can cause plant defoliation resulting in reduced photosynthetic capacity and tree dieback. First detected on Maui and Hawaii Island last October, the devastating pathogen can be controlled with an EPA-approved fungicide as part of an IPM plan.
The Hawaii 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.