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Are You A Coffee Drinker?

 

Are you part of the 64% of Americans that drink coffee daily? If you answered yes, then you should be aware that Hawaii’s coffee industry – the second largest industry in the state – has just been plagued with another invasive species: Coffee Leaf Rust. What does this mean to coffee drinkers? Well, in the short-term it could mean nothing; but in the long term, the infestation could mean a lot to more than just coffee drinkers. An infestation of coffee leaf rust in Hawaii could destroy the state’s coffee industry, negatively impact state revenue, increase coffee prices, and so on and so on. Are you part of the 64% of Americans that drink coffee daily? If you answered yes, then you should be aware that Hawaii’s coffee industry – the second largest industry in the state – has just been plagued with another invasive species: Coffee Leaf Rust. What does this mean to coffee drinkers? Well, in the short-term it could mean nothing; but in the long term, the infestation could mean a lot to more than just coffee drinkers. An infestation of coffee leaf rust in Hawaii could destroy the state’s coffee industry, negatively impact state revenue, increase coffee prices, and so on and so on.

 

Coffee leaf rust is a fungus that destroys coffee leaves. The leaves get infected with yellow, orange, and brown spots, and then drop prematurely from the tree. The coffee plant’s ability to produce berries is impacted based on the severity of the fungus. In the short term (i.e., the current year’s crop), farmers may not lose much of their crops. It’s the long-term effects that are devastating. Once infested with coffee leaf rust, the following years’ harvests are greatly reduced; some experts estimating between 30 and 80 percent crop loss. Until now, Hawaii was the only major coffee growing region in the world that was not plagued by coffee leaf rust.

 

Honolulu pests

 

As a $50+ million dollar industry, Hawaii’s coffee farms employ a lot of people and pay a lot of excises. Coffee farmers also bring a lot of revenue into the state, as tourists are one of their biggest clients. While Hawaii is a small producer of coffee in the big scheme of universal coffee producers, the state is well known for its Kona brand that sells for a higher than average price.

 

So, when we’re enjoying our next cup of joe, we should be humbled by the devastation that one tiny infestation to our islands can cause, and the continued efforts of our Department of Agriculture and other agencies. Many of our state agencies work relentlessly to keep invasive species from reaching our shores. If you know of any coffee leaf infestations, please call the Department of Agriculture’s Pest Control Branch at 808-973-9525.

Get in touch.

Please contact us if you have any questions. You can call us directly or email us by using the form below and we’ll try to get back to you within 24hrs. Mahalo

 

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