Coffee Quarantine In Kona - Ten Questions About the Kona Coffee Berry Borer Infestation

by dan on November 19, 2010

The recent discovery of an infestation of a coffee pest called the Coffee Berry Borer in Kona Coffee Country is nothing short of alarming. After all, this is the world’s most devastating coffee pest and could potentially significantly hurt the Hawaii coffee industry.

Here are the answers to some questions being asked about this potential crisis for the Kona coffee industry.

What agencies are working to solve the problem of deciding how to control and mitigate the effects of the Coffee Berry Borer in the Kona coffee growing region?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and the University of Hawaii-Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The specific agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture involved are the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and the Agricultural Research Service - Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center. All of these groups are collaborating to help solve the problem of the Coffee Berry Borer infestation.

What did the Advisory Committee on Plants & Animals decide on November 17, 2010?

After receiving testimony and discussing the issue, the Advisory Committee recommended to the Hawaii Board of Agriculture that two quarantine zones should be established on the Big Island with the goal of stopping the spread of the Coffee Berry Borer.

What exactly is to be quarantined?

Green (unroasted) coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts (e.g., coffee cherry), and coffee bags.

What area of the Big Island ox currently known to be infested with the Coffee Berry Borer?

From Kaloko to Manuka State Park in South Kona.

Will green coffee beans be allowed to be sold from this region?

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is currently assessing how to treat green coffee beans so they may be transported out of the quarantine zone.

How long will a quarantine of Kona coffee beans remain in effect?

The proposal calls for an initial quarantine time period of one year.

When is the next meeting to decide on these issues related to quarantines due to the Coffee Berry Borer beetle in the Kona coffee growing region?

On November 23, 2010 the Hawaii Board of Agriculture will meet at the Plant Quarantine Branch in Honolulu to make further determinations regarding the Coffee Berry Borer in Kona.

Is testimony being accepted for this meeting?

Yes, you can email testimony to until 4:30 pm on Monday, November 22, 2010.

What other measures are being taken to help analyze and deal with the Coffee Berry Borer in Kona?

The USDA and the Hawaii Dept. of Ag. are using GPS technology to track the infestation areas. They also accept samples of coffee cherry to be checked for the coffee pest and are working in various ways to identify and solve the problem and protect Hawaii’s coffee industry.

Are there any chemicals that can be used to eliminate the coffee berry borer?

Certain chemical such as endosulfan are used in some other countries to control the coffee berry borer but those chemicals are considered extremely toxic and thus are not allowed in the United States.

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