Emergency Interim Quarantine Rule Restricts Green Coffee Movement Within State of Hawaii Including Kona Coffee Country
Two quarantine zones have been established on the Big Island of Hawaii to deal with the Coffee Berry Borer infestation. The Interim Quarantine Rule to protect Hawaii coffee was approved by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture in November and went into effect December 2, 2010 with the goal of protecting Hawaii’s premium gourmet coffees.
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What Exactly Is Restricted By the Kona Coffee Quarantine
The Interim Quarantine Rule applies to unroasted coffee beans (known as green coffee beans). These beans have been processed though not yet roasted. The quarantine also applies to coffee plant parts including coffee cherry) and to coffee bags as well as to all coffee plants. These items must be fumigated if they are shipped within the State of Hawaii.
Unroasted coffee beans transported within the State of Hawaii must be treated using either methyl bromide, ProFume, or a heat treatment at 315 degrees Fahrenheit for at least five minutes. Treatments suitable for organic coffee farmers include a heat treatment process.
Green coffee beans must be removed from the bags, treated with heat, and then placed in a different bag. Then the original bags must be washed or destroyed to eliminate the chance of the spread of the harmful coffee pest.
The Six-Step Alternative Process for Organic Kona Coffee
Organic farmers may also utilize a process in which:
1) The coffee beans are not moved to within five miles of where coffee is grown on another island.
2) If the beans have been graded and certified they must be double bagged in either thick, non-permeable plastic bags which are sealed, or in mylar, and then labeled with their origin;
3) Previous to roasting the green coffee beans must be kept in a contained room which can then be disinfested to rid it of any Coffee Berry Borers;
4) Anything that comes into contact with the untreated coffee beans including any coffee bags and all packaging must be either destroyed or treated;
5) Inspectors for the Department Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture must have access to the site;
6) The inspectors must be allowed to review the company’s records in order to track the movement of the coffee beans.
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What is the Main Goal of the Coffee Quarantine in the Kona Region?
The Interim Quarantine Rule was enacted with the goal of stopping and/or slowing the spread of the Coffee Berry Borer beetle which is one of the world’s most destructive and damaging coffee pests.
Specifically the goal is to prevent the spread of the Coffee Borer beetle to other coffee growing regions in the State of Hawaii including the large coffee plantations on Kauai and Molokai as well as numerous other areas in the state where coffee is being cultivated.
The quarantine does not prohibit the shipment of green coffee beans directly out of the State of Hawaii.
Where are the Kona Coffee Quarantine Zones?
The Hawaii Board of Agriculture established a primary as well as a secondary quarantine zone.
The primary zone includes the region from Kaloko to Manuka State Park in South Kona. More specifically, the zone spans from Naalehu in Kau to North Kona, bordered on the south from Mile Marker #62 on Highway 11 near Naalehu, and north to Mile Marker #29 on Highway 190 (Mamalahoa Hwy.) and Mile Marker 93 on Highway 19 (Queen Kaahumanu Hwy.). This region is the heart of Kona coffee country, sometimes referred to as the Kona Coffee Belt, and is the area known to be currently infested with the Coffee Berry Borer.
The secondary quarantine zone encompasses the remainder of the Big Island of Hawaii.
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What Mitigation Methods Were Approved To Treat Green Coffee Beans and other Quarantined Items in the Quarantine area?
Approved treatments include fumigation of the green coffee beans or coffee plant parts, a specific heat treatment process, or a six-step alternative that will allow Kona coffee farmers to move green coffee beans within the State of Hawaii.
Native to Angola, the Coffee Berry Borer beetle began spreading through Africa in the 1020s and then arrived in the major coffee growing country of Brazil in 1926. It was not until the 1970s that the coffee beetle began infesting the coffee plants of Mexico and Guatemala.
The beetle’s movement continued in the 1980s when it arrived on the coffee farms of another major world coffee growing country, Columbia, and then in the Dominican Republic in the 1990s and Puerto Rico in 2007.
It wasn’t until September of 2010 that the Coffee Berry Borer beetle finally found its way to the Hawaiian Islands infesting the premier crop of Kona coffee country cultivated on the Kona coffee farms of the Big Island of Hawaii.
The primary way the Coffee Berry Borer infestation is controlled is through a variety of precautions that should be taken by the coffee farmers as well as the processors.
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