Coffee Berry Borer Pest Threatens Kona Coffee Crop - Quarantine Will Likely Be In Effect for at Least One Year
On Tuesday, November 23 the Hawaii State Board of Agriculture approved two quarantine zones on the Big Island including Kona Coffee Country.
The Board of Agriculture established an Emergency Interim Rule which will take effect once the new rule is published in newspapers which is expected to take just a few days. The quarantine of Kona Coffee will likely remain in effect for one year.
Last week the Hawaii State Advisory Committee on Plants & Animals received testimony from the public including Kona coffee farmers and other Hawaii coffee farmers. The Advisory Committee concluded that an emergency situation currently exists and recommended the quarantine to the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, which met yesterday and followed the Advisory recommendation.
The primary quarantine zone to control the Coffee Berry Borer spans from Manuka State Park to Kaloko in South Kona. A secondary zone encompasses the whole of the Big Island.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has also approved a variety of mitigation and treatment methods - including heat treatment and fumigation - which may be implemented to allow green coffee beans to be transported outside of the quarantine zone. Some of these methods are suitable for organic Kona coffee.
The damage caused by the dreaded Coffee Berry Borer begins with the small beetle laying eggs inside the coffee cherry (fruit) while it is still on the plant ripening. Soon the beetle eggs form into larva and start to feed on the coffee bean which is the pit of the coffee cherry.
The Coffee Berry Borer invasion of the fruit and bean may also give way to other invaders such as fungal and bacterial damage. The Coffee Berry Borer currently affects more than seventy countries, most of which are in Latin America.
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