Dear Chair Gabbard and Members of the Senate AEN Committee:
I am a Kona coffee farmer in the North Kona District of Hawaii Island and am a member of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association. I strongly support the passage of HB186.
The threat of Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) creates a danger that Hawaii-grown coffee will join sugar and pineapple as lost heritage agriculture crops for the State of Hawaii. CBB is now present on three of our islands—Hawaii, Oahu and Maui.
The most effective way to reduce the damage caused by CBB is the application of the fungus Beauveria bassiana. The current HDOA-administered subsidy program for Beauveria bassiana is assisting farmers to develop more effective systems to mitigate CBB damage and to protect the economic viability of Hawaii-grown coffee.
The extension of the current HDOA subsidy through June 30, 2021, and additional funding are reasonable steps toward saving the coffee growing industry in Hawaii.
Hawaii’s coffee farmers ask for your support and urge passage of HB186.
Holualoa, Hawaii County