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  • 09 Feb 2021 8:21 PM | Alla Kostenko

    What’s at Stake: The Loss of Hawaii’s Coffee Industry, A Major Economic Driver

    As growers of the #2 crop in the State, we are just under 1,500 strong who tend more than 10,000 (i) acres. The value of our coffee is second only to Hawaii’s seed crops . For the 2019-2020 season, Hawaii’s unroasted coffee was valued at $102.91 million (ii), while its roasted value was more than (iii) $148.48 million .

    Now, we’re facing the most destructive coffee disease in the world: Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR), a fungus that can kill an entire farm in a matter of weeks. Annually, CLR causes $3 billion in damage and lost income around the world.

    In Hawaii, the stakes are higher than elsewhere. While most other coffee-growing regions have planted rust-resistant varieties, all of the ones commercially grown in Hawaii are not resistant. And the best fungicides used to fight this disease have not been approved here.

    CLR has been found and is spreading rapidly on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu and Lanai. Its spores are spread by wind, workers, rain, equipment and tourists. As a result, farmers are facing defoliation and a loss of yield up to 70% or more.

    To help save our industry, as well as the communities and families that depend on it, we need State, Federal and private support and we need it NOW.

    Without action, we stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in Hawaii’s economy – a contribution that far exceeds the value of the beans themselves. To grow our coffee, we hire thousands of workers and buy from local industries such as transportation and vendors of agricultural supplies. This so-called “downstream economic impact” is valued at about $211 (iv) million.

    Then there is the “upstream economic impact” of Hawaiian coffee, which is unquantified. Compared to most other crops grown here, coffee offers two advantages: 1) Its worldwide popularity boosts the tourism potential of events such as the Kona Coffee Festival. 2) It is shelf stable. That makes Hawaiian coffee a major attraction for the souvenir market, drawing tourists to shops, cafes and agritourism operations statewide. In turn, these visitors create more worldwide demand for Hawaiian coffee once they return home. For example, foreign exports of coffee from Hawaii, valued at $9.20 million (v) in 2019, are an ongoing international advertisement for the Hawaii islands.

    The economic losses from CLR would have an outsized impact in rural areas, where few other industries exist. Remember the collapse of the local sugar industry? We can expect similar results: dramatically increasing unemployment – especially of historically underserved and minority populations – accompanied by increasing crime and drug use. Not to mention the harm to almost 200 years of coffee-growing history and the cultural heritage of our islands.

    What We Need:

    • Statewide approval of the most effective CLR fungicides, and subsidies for famers to purchase them.

    • Support for development of the best CLR-management strategies in Hawaii, as well as support to educate farmers of them.

    • Support for research of the best CLR resistant varieties that will maintain the quality of Hawaii coffees. Also support for the importation, propagation and distribution of CLR- resistant varieties, including expanded plant-quarantine facilities. (This is a 5-10 year project.)

    • Support for farmers to replace their existing fields with rust-resistant varieties.

    • Support for other ways to build capacity and resilience within farm communities.


    • Chris Manfredi, President, Hawaii Coffee Association

    • Suzanne Shriner, Administrator, Synergistic Hawaii Ag Council


    i $54.3 million for Coffee vs $109.5 million for Seed Crops (including seed corn), in 2019. Source: State of HI, HDOA Market Analysis and News Branch “Top 20 Agricultural Commodities Produced: State of Hawaii, 2019.”

    ii 2019-2020 season, pounds of utilized production (green beans) x price per pound: 5,120,000 pounds x $20.10/pound = $102.91 million. Source: USDA-NASS. Jan 2021. “Coffee”. -01-26-2021.pdf

    iii This is a wholesale roasted estimate of the value of the 2019-2020 season crop, priced at $29.00 per pound: 5,120,000 pounds x $29.00/pound = $148.48 million. The $29.00/pound is an average statewide value that takes into account the lower wholesale prices of mechanically harvested coffee (Kauai, Oahu and Maui beans) and the higher prices of hand-harvested beans (Kona, Ka‘u).

    iv Using multiplier of 2.05, applied to the 2019-2020 season value of the State’s green beans: $102.91 million x 2.05 = $210.97 million. Multiplier from correspondence between HDOA chair P. Shimabuku and USDA Secretary S. Perdue, dated November 19, 2020.

    v $5.33 million in roasted coffee from Hawaii + $3.87 million in unroasted coffee from Hawaii. Source: USDA Global Agricultural Trade System. 2019 data.

  • 08 Feb 2021 8:52 PM | Alla Kostenko

    The following Job Announcement has been posted by USDA:

    AgencyFarm Service Agency

    Title County Program Technician

    Pay Plan-Series-Grade: CO-1101-4/5/6/7

    Announcement Number FSACO-11022426-21-HI-AG

    Open Period:  8 February 2021 to 22 February 2021

    Duty Locations:   Hilo, Hawaii

    Who May Apply:  This position is open to all US Citizens and US Nationals. 

    Direct Link to Announcement:

  • 28 Jan 2021 7:53 PM | Alla Kostenko

    Learn How to Spray Legally & What to Spray:

    • How to read the spray product label
    • How to stay safe with PPE & REIs
    • Protecting your workers
    • How to calculate copper spray amounts
    • When to spray copper, biologicals, or Beauveria bassiana
    • When to combine spray products

    Cal Westergard of HDOA - Slides

    Andrea Kawabata of CTAHR - Slides

    Webinar Video Recording

  • 21 Jan 2021 7:33 PM | Alla Kostenko

    The HCA, Synergystic Hawaii Agricultural Council (SHAC) and the Hawaii State Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) held the first-ever Taiwan Virtual Coffee Mart in mid-November.

    The event connected HCA members with members of the Taiwan coffee industry.  More than 30 coffee professionals attended on location in Taipei to learn about Hawaii’s distinct growing regions, diverse coffee varietals and innovative processing methods.  The event succeeded in showcasing both Hawaii's historical coffee tradition and a sense of growth and dynamism that mirrors the growing worldwide specialty coffee industry.  

    The event was part of the Market Access Program (MAP) grant that the HCA, via SHAC, has been granted to explore and grow exports of Hawaiian coffee to our target markets of Taiwan, China & Hong Kong.   We will continue to keep you updated on the MAP marketing events planned for 2021 and beyond.

    Here is the link to the Youtube copy of the 2020 Virtual Trade Show.

    Ralph Gaston
    HCA Representative for SHAC

  • 20 Jan 2021 4:41 PM | Alla Kostenko

    Please print and distribute this poster in your community. Click here for the PDF version.

  • 20 Jan 2021 4:30 PM | Alla Kostenko

    Please click here to see the PDF file with details about the CFAP 2 - Round 2 program. Click here to get help applying.

  • 19 Dec 2020 10:14 PM | Alla Kostenko

    USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Agricultural Producers and Small Rural Businesses Develop and Market New Products

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2020 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today invited applications for grants to help agricultural producers and small rural businesses develop and market new products.

    Approximately $33 million in grants is available under the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The Agency may also utilize any funding that becomes available through enactment of fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations.

    The grants may be used to develop new products from raw agricultural products or to promote new markets for established products. Veterans, socially-disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given special priority.

    USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB) to help improve life in rural America.

    Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments. Key strategies include:

    • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
    • Developing the Rural Economy
    • Harnessing Technological Innovation
    • Supporting a Rural Workforce
    • Improving Quality of Life  

    For additional information, see the notice in the Federal Register.

    If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

  • 16 Dec 2020 8:20 PM | Alla Kostenko

    From: Joan Obra
    Vice President: United Ka'u Farmers Cooperative
    Partner: Rusty's Hawaiian and Isla Custom Coffees

    RE:  Zoom Meeting on Soil Health
    Date and Time: Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, at 2:30 pm. 

    Since the arrival of Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) in Hawaii, farmers have been told that maintaining healthy trees is key to fighting this pest. But tree health depends on soil health — and the copper-based fungicides for CLR pose certain challenges to our soils. 

    What’s a farmer to do? Join us for this Zoom webinar to discover good-management practices for copper fungicide use. You’ll hear a review of scientific literature about these fungicides and their residual effects. And you’ll learn about SOLVITA soil-respiration test kits, a tool that measures chemical and biological soil parameters. Your instructor is Dr. Melanie Willich, The Kohala Center’s 
    Director of Applied ʻĀina-Based Agriculture.

    Register in advance for this meeting:  
    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

    Thank you,
    Joan Obra
  • 01 Dec 2020 9:02 PM | Alla Kostenko

    Aloha all:

    Here is the Mitigation Strategies for Coffee Rust (Hemileia vastatrix) in Hawaii document, developed by the USDA PPQ Plant Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Laboratory for the current situation in Hawaii.  It is somewhat general but it is nice to have the various strategies summarized all in one place.  Note that it did not include systemics insecticides because they are not yet available for use in Hawaii.  Feel free to use and/or distribute as needed.



    Kevin M. Hoffman
    Plant Industry Administrator/State Plant Regulatory Official
    Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture
    Phone:  808-973-9535

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