The U.S. Senate has approved $32.3 million to fund airport agricultural inspections in Hawaii, in addition to nearly $3 million for agriculture research on coffee and invasive pests, according to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.
“I’m glad that we were able to pass a bill that supports coffee farmers and protects hundreds of local jobs that depend on coffee production in Hawaii,” said Schatz, a member of the Appropriations Committee, in a news release. “This bill also funds agricultural inspection stations at our neighbor island airports. These stations save visitors the hassle of rechecking their bags in Honolulu before heading home and give residents and tourists a seamless travel experience.”
A total of $1.9 million will go towards maintaining a bank of coffee seeds and plants at the U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo. These known varieties are used for research and the development of new strains of coffee with desirable traits.
Another $1 million will go towards an insectary at the research center for the study and combat of invasive insects, including fruit flies, coffee berry borers and felted macadamia nut coccids. Researchers will use the insectary to develop new ways for Hawaii farmers to protect their crops.
The $32.3 million will help fund federal agricultural inspectors at the airports of Oahu as well as Kauai, Maui and Hawaii island. The inspections at neighbor island airports allow passengers to connect directly to flights to the U.S. mainland.