NEW HDOA PROPOSED COFFEE STANDARDS-- HDOA is holding a hearing on Thursday, October 10 at 9am at the West Hawaii Civic Center to take testimony on 34 pages of new regulations making significant changes to the Coffee Standards. KCFA has reviewed the entire document and has identified 9 important concerns. Click on the link below to see all 9. For the sake of brevity this message highlights five issues (## 1, 5, 6, 7 & 8) that seem most pressing and relays HDOA's instructions for submitting written and oral testimony. KCFA's full analysis is at the following link:
TESTIMONY-- If you feel you would be adversely affected by any of the changes, you should testify at the Hearing this Thursday, October 10 at 9 am at the West Hawaii Civic Center. Bring 5 copies of your statement to the Public Hearing. ALTERNATIVELY you can send written testimony on or before 9am October 10 by email to: HDOA.QAD@hawaii.gov. (Please be sure the word “Testimony” and the subject matter <Changes to Coffee Standards> are included to assure your written comments are received.)
It is of utmost IMPORTANCE that you as a Kona Coffee Farmer take the time to address these issues now- either by planning to testify orally on Thursday or by emailing your testimony promptly.
Without opposition, the Changes will go into effect and cost us all.
POSSIBLE TESTIMONY ISSUES
#1 Adverse Affect on “Home Roaster” Sales -The proposed revision to Section 1-143-3 eliminates the definition of “Wholesale Quantity” of green coffee from the rules. This will eliminate the HDOA’s practice of many years of exempting sales of less than 10 pounds of green coffee from certification requirements. There are reports that for some Kona farms their sales of green coffee of 10 pounds or less amounts to more than half of their coffee sales.
Under the new regulations, farmers will now have to to attach to even a one pound package of green a 2” x 4” tamper-proof tag, light in color, made of a material that resists tearing, with a blank area at least two inches by two inches.
Why is HDOA acting to eliminate the less than Wholesale Quantity exemption? Why is HDOA creating burdens for small-scale coffee businesses? Have there been problems with such sales? If so, what have the problems been—and how does this change address such problems?
#5—Non-Sale Transport of Coffee Within the Region HB 280 passed in 2011 requires detailed record keeping of cherry, parchment and green coffee transported"with intent to sell". This revision to Section 4-143-12 puts the same record keeping burden on Kona farmers who transport cherry, parchment or green where no sale is involved and the coffee after processing is returned to the farmer. This is an unnecessary burden that serves no practical purpose and is not required by the law.
#6 HDOA Affidavit of Origin Form-- The proposed changes to Section 1-143-1(a) add new language describing a “geographic region statement” to be provided by HDOA that may be used to document the origin of coffee. Is this form the same as the form emailed to KCFA by the HDOA in September 2012, entitled “Affidavit of Hawaii–Grown Coffee Origin—Form C-6 (8/12)”? If so, will the HDOA sanction the use of this form by Hawaii coffee farmers to represent “origin” to foreign buyers?
#7 Warrantless Searches-- Section 4-143-8 purports to provide authority for HDOA inspectors to enter any public or private premises and any vehicle of transport—with no reference to a warrant or probable cause. Has this provision been approved by the Hawaii Attorney General’s office as meeting constitutional standards?
#8 Certification of Origin Only-- For many years HDOA has offered a cost-effective option used by many small-scale coffee farmers for “certification of origin only”—with no express grade determination or cupping and a statement of Kona origin with the indication that the coffee meets grade standards of Prime or better.Does the proposed elimination of current Sections 4-143-2(f) and (g) indicate that the HDOA will no longer make this service available to small-scale Kona coffee farmers? If so, what are the reasons for not continuing this service?
KCFA urges its Members to review all 9 of the concerns and testify - You can read the proposed HDOA regulations at this website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Proposed-Rule-Amendments-to-4-143.pdf
Kona Coffee Farmers Association President