Our beloved Kona coffee is under attack by a beetle that threatens to decimate our coffee industry if left unchecked.
First discovered on the Big Island in 2010, the borer has spread throughout the Kona area and has been found in coffee farms in Kau.
Adult berry borers are 1.4-1.77 mm in length, smaller in size than sesame seeds.
Destroyed beans are a total loss for coffee farmers. Less production equates to lost revenue while increasing the cost of cultivation. That loss is then passed onto the consumer in the form of higher prices.
This beetle has the potential to cripple the Kona coffee industry. Not just destroying a few beans here and there, but wiping out farms completely. The danger of the this infestation cannot be understated.
Industry wide, it is estimated that the borer does over $500 million dollars worth of crop damage per year.
Howard Dicus, a local television personality for Hawaii News Now Sunrise recently did a morning news piece with Melanie Bondera of the Kohala center. In association with Kamehameha Schools and the Kona Coffee Farmer’s Association, the Kohala center produced an instructional video with tips on combating the berry borer. Howard interviews Melanie on the production in the news clip below.
Staff from the University of Hawaii Manoa – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture have been working jointly to find the most effective ways to combat the beetle.
Eradication at this point does not seem likely. However, if coffee farmers and private citizens are aware and vigilant, the hope is beetle infestation can be kept to minimal levels.
Please watch the video below and share with anyone who has coffee trees on their property.
Help save Kona coffee!
For more information on the coffee berry borer see links below.