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Hawaii coffee growers seek federal help to fight pest

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 11:36 a.m. HST, Mar 05, 2013

Hawaii coffee industry leaders are seeking federal emergency assistance to defend against the Coffee Berry Borer pest.

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association and the Hawaii Coffee Association sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack asking for more help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to defeat the destructive beetle discovered on Hawaii island in late 2010.

The letter dated Feb. 28 said the pest has increased exponentially whereby billions of beetles threaten Kona Coffee farmers and potentially coffee growers on other islands despite more than two years of efforts combating the invasive insects.

"Clearly more expertise is rapidly needed," the letter said. "As a Hawaii-born citizen, Mr. President, you can understand the gravity of our situation as our agricultural business sector provides our diverse citizenry with the economic bases for life here on the Island of Hawaii."

Kona Coffee is grown on more than 700 mostly small family farms. Last year, all coffee in Hawaii was a $35 million crop produced by 830 farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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serious wrote:
In all due respect--call the Feds? Do you remember the Japanese beetle invasion in the mid 40's? I went out with my parents and pulled those hummers off our grape vines and put them into cans filled with gasoline. But we were Republicans--worked for a living--didn't want Fed help!! It's called private enterprise.
on March 5,2013 | 11:44AM
cojef wrote:
Am a registered Republican too, but with establishment of the Department of Agriculture, believe during the 40's I believe, Roosevelt, the department has taken an active role in protecting agriculture from whatever that threaten that industry. So, why not request the Department's aid since the State is not moving effectively to save the Kona coffee growers from ruin. It is worth saving, not only for the Big Island but other coffee growers on Kauai and on Maui. Am a home green coffee bean roaster, although use very little or any of Hawaiian greean coffee beans because I can purchase lower priced beans form all over the world. Myself, coffee taste is appreciated in how one roast the green beans. More specifically it is temperature and time control that determines the taste. Each individual has his own taste buds to satisfy. Do not believe, one size fits all. Coffee is one of life's pleasure, just like alcohol is.
on March 5,2013 | 12:24PM
Retired_Navy_LDO wrote:
Really?? The FED is broke. Hope they don't expect help any time soon.
on March 5,2013 | 02:37PM
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