Question: Do you have additional thoughts as to how you can promote and protect the Kona Coffee name and support the farmers who grow this heritage Hawaii-grown crop?
We must make sure our coffee farmers have access to water so they can have a robust harvest. We must also examine and expand the methods our famers use to get their crops to market on mainland and around the world.
Hawaii produces excellent coffees and many other unique agricultural products. As U.S. Senator, I will assist our farmers to meet their need for an adequate number of qualified workers by addressing legal immigration reform and ensuring that the federal government does not create new regulations for the industry without first assessing what will be the impact on jobs. I will also utilize bilateral, regional and multilateral institutions, including those based in Hawaii, to more effectively pursue our nations trade interests in the Asia-Pacific region, which will increase Hawaiis agricultural exports to new and expanding markets. More effective management and engagement of the United States economic relationships with Hawaiis neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region will result in job creation and economic benefits for Hawaii and for the nation.
US REPRESENTATIVE, District 2
I would support efforts to expand the Big Islands GMO coffee ban statewide to protect Hawaii coffee from contamination.
HAWAII COUNTY MAYOR
Yes.We will offer continued sponsorship and support of the Kona and Ka’u Coffee Festivals and consider other assistance for appropriate events and marketing. Three members of members of my cabinet live in Mauka Kona. Two of them, Margaret Masunaga and Laverne Omori, belong to families with deep ties to Kona coffee and all of them have a very good understanding of issues surrounding the coffee industry. I am also always willing to speakwith industry professionals and farmers to find ways which we can partner to help build a stronger coffee industry.
The specialness of Kona Coffee and protection of this specialness must be passed on to those less informed. Education and information dissemination should be done at all levels.
STATE SENATE, District 3
My record of support for Kona Coffee farmers is clear and I would be honored to continue to speak up whenever Kona Coffee interests are threatened, as evidenced when I was the lone vote against a bill that jeopardizes crop verification this year.Going forward I will continue to work to put in place supportive programs for sustainable agriculture, especially that which helps coffee. I also will fight GMOs as I have in the past, submitting strong legislation to protect Kona Coffee and other local at from multinational GMO conglomerates.
If the name has not been trademarked, it should be. All growers should be allowed use of this trade mark who qualify. Any blended coffee should be clearly marked, type size and font the same as the brand name.
STATE SENATE, District 4
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, District 5
Trudy and I sell our 100% Kona Coffee on the mainland and into international markets. We also conduct many coffee tours at our farm in Holualoa. I commit to developing additional markets for 100% Kona and other Hawaiian coffees to make certain that all available coffee is sold. I would also promote Ag and Eco tours to our Hawaii coffee farms as requested by farmers. I would accomplish these goals through DBEDT promotions. I also promote additional coffee farm startups on available private, county and state land to assure there is sufficient coffee to satisfy the high demand for all Hawaiian coffees.
The 10% Law should be changed to an ingredient label. If it is the first thing listed, then it must the highest percentage by content.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, District 6
In addition to measures addressed in previous questions, I would want to meet with farmers and the KCFA members how to determine I can best support them at the state legislature.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, District 7
It’s always best for me to hear the stories from the growers, processors, and sellers of Hawaii-grown crops. The challenges are many, including water, transportation, invasive species, theft, and branding. I will work to find solutions addressing the needs of the farmers and the economics of supply and demand.
COUNTY COUNCIL, District 6
The Kona Coffee name is already well known for it’s distinct flavor. The protection aspect is what needs to be addressed inclusively by all farmers, large and small. Not all farmers are part of the Association and I would be very interested in hearing from everyone and get input from everyone.
We need the State to pass our legislation for Truth-in labeling, country-of-origin labeling, and branding. We may be able to set branding in our code and I will investigate.
COUNTY COUNCIL, District 7
Dru Kanuha: I will commit to work with the farmers and make sure their issues are heard.
COUNTY COUNCIL, District 8
I would be open to meet with the Kona Coffee Farmers Association to come up with additional thoughts. You are the closest to the issues, and I would be happy to promote your ideas and find ways to support Kona Coffee farmers and promote Kona Coffee.
HAWAII COUNTY PROSECUTOR
These questions appear better aimed at elected officials with legislative authority. The authority of the Prosecuting Attorney is limited by the County Charter, and non-traditional prosecutorial functions are limited to crime prevention programs. That being said, the Prosecutor may nonetheless work collaboratively with community and business stakeholders with respect to those provisions of the law found in HRS Chapter 486 that contain criminal penalty provisions.
In my 14 years as a Deputy Prosecutor on Hawaii Island I have been very active in educating an enforcing agricultural crimes including coffee theft. Several years ago, I worked on a strategy with the police, coffee farmers and processors to reduce coffee theft by asking the processors to pay by check rather than cash. This strategy along with other education of the farmers did reduce coffee theft. Today we are again starting to have reports of coffee theft. I have noticed that we have processors paying cash for coffee. I believe we need to work with the processors to only pay by check. I believe that the Dept. of Agriculture needs to employ more inspectors.
Thank you for this opportunity to answer these questions. While agricultural crime and issues may not be very important to many in the criminal justice system, it is one of my prime concerns. Coffee and other agriculture goods are a key part of our economic engine. Agriculture provides jobs and a lack of jobs is a determining factor in crime. For this reason, I believe we need to do all we can to protect our farmers. Please feel free to call me if you have any other questions at 989-0385.