Thursday 19 May 2022

Hawaiʻi Delegation introduces bicameral legislation to protect the US Coffee Industry

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WASHINGTON, D.C., US – Today, the Hawaiʻi Delegation: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Rep. Ed Case (D-HI-01) and Rep. Kaialiʻi Kahele (D-HI-02), introduced bicameral legislation to enable research funding to address all current and emerging threats to the United States coffee and macadamia nut industries. The Coffee Plant Health Initiative Amendments Act (CPHIAA) and Macadamia Tree Health Initiative Amendments Act (MTHIAA) would remove existing restrictions on the limited scope of research and grant funding for the coffee plant and macadamia tree.

Under current law, research for both crops only address two invasive and harmful species: the macadamia felted coccid (MFC) and coffee berry borer (CBB). The CPHIAA and MTHIAA expands research to address all macadamia tree and coffee plant pests and weeds.

The annual combined farmgate value (market value minus selling cost) of macadamia nut and coffee is over $100 million. The CPHIAA and MTHIAA are widely supported by macadamia nut and coffee farmers across Hawaiʻi and the United States.

“As our agricultural community continuously fights new invasive pests, resources provided by these two bills would be instrumental in protecting two of Hawaiʻi’s signature crops: coffee and macadamia nuts,” said Senator Hirono. “I look forward to working with my delegation colleagues on these bills so that our producers are equipped to face current and future threats to these crops.”

“Coffee and Macadamia nuts are uniquely Hawai‘i crops which support local jobs and are the mainstays of Hawai‘i agriculture,” said Senator Schatz. “We must keep them competitive, and that begins with science-based management.”

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have partnered with Congressman Kahele and others to secure millions of dollars in federal research funding for Hawaii’s tropical specialty crops like coffee and macadamia nut,” said Congressman Ed Case (HI-01). “While our funding has helped mitigate the effects of the macadamia felted coccid, coffee berry border and coffee leaf rust, current law limits the scope of federal research dollars. These two measures will greatly enhance our ability to fund much more comprehensive coffee and macadamia nut research to preserve and grow these invaluable industries.”

“Healthy and vibrant macadamia and coffee industries are pivotal to strengthening Hawaiʻi’s agricultural community. These amendments help our farmers protect their crops and livelihoods against any emerging threats,” said Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02). “I’m proud to have the support of the entire Hawaiʻi Delegation to help these industries rebound, grow, and better compete in a global market.”

“The Hawaiʻi macadamia nut industry is thrilled with Congressman Kahele’s introduction of the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative Amendments Act (MTHIAA). The MTHIAA will strengthen the future of Hawaiʻi agriculture as the macadamia industry faces new and emerging threats to macadamia nut farms,” said Nathan Trump, president of the Hawaiʻi Macadamia Nut Association. “This act will ensure our farmers have science-based tools to combat these threats and improve the resiliency and productivity of their farms. With expanded funding for research, the macadamia nut industry can increase the number of macadamia farmers and farms that contribute positively to the local economy and the beautiful environment that makes Hawaiʻi so special.”

“The Hawaiʻi Coffee Association is proud to support the Coffee Plant Health Initiative Amendments Act. This important legislation enables the targeting of resources toward the most immediate threats facing coffee in Hawaiʻi today,” Chris Manfredi, President of the Hawaiʻi Coffee Association. “In addition it is forward thinking by anticipating future threats and enables researchers to quickly pivot as they emerge. We thank the introducers, sponsors and supporters of this measure as it will greatly contribute to the survival of one of Hawaiʻi’s most important crops.”

“Coffee is a vital part of most people’s day, but we rarely spend time thinking about the plant behind the bean. This bill ensures that Hawaiʻi’s small growers are able to access research and technology for the new challenges that arise on their farms.” said Suzanne Shriner, Administrator for the Synergistic Hawaiʻi Agriculture Council. “Hawaiʻi’s Kona coffee is prized as one of the world’s best, however, new threats such as Leaf Rust and a changing climate have led to gaps in our research and barriers in the marketplace. We support this initiative, and recognize that it will provide benefits to all who enjoy a good cup of coffee.”

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