Kona Coffee Faces Quarantine Due to Pests
Hawaii had decided to go ahead with an “emergency administrative rule” to quarantine Kona coffee. They hope to keep a coffee berry borer, which is a tiny beetle that is smaller than a sesame seed, from spreading to the other islands.
The beetle bores into the coffee cherry, which contains that coffee bean, to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean and reduce the bean’s size and quality, agriculture officials said. Agriculture officials have found 21 areas in south Kona that are infested with the pest.
The quarantine would require green, non-roasted coffee beans to be treated with heat or insecticide before they’re shipped off the island. “Depending on how it comes out, the effects of the quarantine could be disastrous for those of us who grow Kona coffee,” said Bruce Corker, president of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association.
Those who would be most severely impacted is the organic Kona coffee farmers. The Kona Coffee Farmers Association is calling for a ban on the import of all foreign green coffee beans into Hawaii, because they believe that’s how the bug got here.