Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coffee Down Please

Sunday Loungers, Lazers,

and Sippers of Coffee!

What's your choice:
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee?




Don't Be A "Danny Thomas." 
Put down your cup before scrolling to see
the monster that is

T  E  R  R  O  R  I  Z  I  N  G

Kona Coffee Country

"El barrenador del café"

Discovered in Kona last September!
 Kona coffee quarantined
Processors approve, farmers upset
by Erin Miller
West Hawaii Today
Thursday, November 25, 2010 7:09 AM HST
New, interim quarantine rules approved by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture Tuesday are getting a thumbs up from some of the state's largest coffee processors, but some Big Island farmers are upset about the process and are hoping the state's new governor will intervene.

The long-term impacts of the quarantine, which requires all green coffee beans leaving infested areas on the Big Island to be fumigated or be subjected to a six-step protocol, is still uncertain, growers and processors said.

Bruce Corker, of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association, said he plans to ask Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie and Abercrombie's new Agriculture Department chairman to reconsider or even rescind the rules.

"If an association develops between Kona coffee and pesticide fumigant, we run a risk of losing (the gourmet) market," Corker said.

Tom Greenwell, of Greenwell Farms, was wary of the fumigant-free procedures for other reasons. He said he doesn't think the double-bagging procedure of infected coffee beans is enough of a safeguard.

"Within Kona, infested is infested," Greenwell said. "What's the difference? We need to be assured that coffee berry borer does not get to the other islands."

The impact of the borer may cause the price of coffee to go up slightly, Greenwell said, but strong markets will bear that.

"The demand, when times are good, is extremely high," he said.

He said he isn't paying farmers less for infected cherry, and he is working with farmers with higher infestation levels to pick coffee from unaffected areas now to sell.

Jim Wayman, who buys coffee from about 400 farmers on the Big Island, isn't paying any less for the infected cherry, either, he said. His workers are routinely collecting samples, from each bag of cherry they purchase, and testing for the berry borer. So far, about 25 percent of farms show signs of the beetle, with about one-third of those showing heavy infestation of 80 percent or more of the crop having the beetle. Another one-third has a light infestation and the final third of infected farms has moderate infestation, he said.

Wayman, president of Oahu-based Hawaii Coffee Co., said the protocol represents a good process for organic farmers, and it's a procedure he intends to follow with coffee beans he buys on the Big Island.

Once the pest is established in a coffee-growing region, it can't be eradicated, Wayman said. But farmers do have options to prevent the spread, he added. He pointed to Colombia, where farmers report about 2 percent of crop is affected by the beetle annually.

University of Hawaii professor emeritus Norman Bezona recently returned from Haiti, where coffee farmers have been battling the beetle for about eight years. Farmers there are limiting the beetle's spread, he said, by consistently implementing sanitation measures that include picking all the coffee from the tree each season, boiling beans that show signs of the beetle, to kill the bug and its larvae inside, and cleaning up fallen fruit.

"They're very careful about cleaning, so they don't reinfest their farms," Bezona said.

Copyright © 2010 West Hawaii Today