THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

258

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

urging the department of agriculture to identify how coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust entered into hawaii and measures to prevent the flow of these invasive species into the state to protect the ongoing viability of Hawaii's coffee industry.

 

 


WHEREAS, coffee is ranked by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as Hawaii's second highest value crop and is a highly valued commodity in Hawaii's economy; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the 2018 State Agriculture overview published by the USDA, Hawaii produced 5,400,000 pounds (green weight) of coffee grown on seven thousand one hundred acres, with an average yield of 1.92 tons per acre, at a unit price of $19.40 per pound, for a value of $50,160,000, demonstrating the high value of this crop to Hawaii's agriculture sector, especially since that value is based on just 0.65 percent of farm acres operated; and

 

WHEREAS, quarantine laws within the State should assist in keeping imported plant material out and possible infested stock from entering the State; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2010, the coffee berry borer, a small beetle that is harmful to coffee crops worldwide, was found to have infested coffee crops in the Kona and Kau regions of Hawaii island and has since been detected on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Lanai; and

 

WHEREAS, over ninety percent of coffee farms in the Kona region are affected by the coffee berry borer, where every farm in the region has experienced a degree of infestation and secondary infestation, drastically reducing the yield of coffee trees and adversely impacting the quantity and price of coffee from the Kona region; and

 

WHEREAS, coffee leaf rust exists in the native forest realms of Ethiopia, has spread throughout Indonesia and the entirety of Central and South America; and

 

WHEREAS, in October 2020, the USDA confirmed the presence of the fungus Hemileia vasatrix (coffee leaf rust) in the Holualoa area of the Kona region, and to date coffee leaf rust has been identified in the United States only in Hawaii, especially in Holualoa, Hawaii; Haiku, Maui, and on Lanai; and

 

WHEREAS, in February 2021, overall, twenty-five coffee lots across seventeen commercial coffee farms were surveyed, and eleven of the seventeen farms surveyed were positive for coffee leaf rust on both conventional and organic farms; and

 

WHEREAS, coffee leaf rust can cause severe defoliation of coffee plants that greatly reduces the photosynthetic capacity of plants and vegetative and berry growth are reduced depending on the intensity of rust in the current year; and

 

WHEREAS, long-term effects of coffee leaf rust may include dieback, which would likely have a significant impact on the following year's yield, with some researchers estimating losses between thirty percent and eighty percent if left unchecked; and

 

WHEREAS, while the establishment and management of this fungus in other regions presents the opportunity to utilize existing science and tools to respond to the fungus such as planting resistant cultivars, changing climate conditions have resulted in once resistant variants to now be susceptible to coffee leaf rust; and

 

WHEREAS, the infestation of coffee farms by the coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust threatens to dismantle Hawaii's coffee industry because of the nature and speed of the infestations; and

 

WHEREAS, as the State is called upon to assist the effort to combat both the coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust, it is imperative that this body be provided with a clear understanding of how they were introduced so that the costs of mitigation can be fairly shared among the responsible parties; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that this body urges the Department of Agriculture to trace the introduction of coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust into Hawaii and determine what role the importation of green coffee from regions with known infestations played in the introduction of these pests, and what risks the continued importation of green coffee poses to the ongoing viability of Hawaii's coffee industry; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Agriculture shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the report should include a discussion of the following topics:

 

(1) The existing statutory and administrative measures that sought to prevent the importation of coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust;

 

(2) Ways that coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust were imported to the State;

 

(3) New monitoring and effective quarantine strategies and best management practices, including field sanitation, proper pruning, fertility, coffee leaf monitoring, and early detection;

 

(4) Outreach strategies and community engagement for the development, education, and dissemination of these measures for coffee farmers, especially for those who live near their farms; and

 

(5) The extent that these new measures could protect those living in Hawaii's coffee growing regions from the cumulative impacts of ongoing exposure to pesticides; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture and Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources of the University of Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Department of Agriculture; Coffee Berry Borer; Coffee Leaf Rust; Green Coffee