oriGIn- May 2, 2012 Napa Valley Vintners

The Napa Valley Vintners joins the global alliance of geographical indications
The Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn) is glad to announce that the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), the non-profit trade association representing 430 Napa Valley wineries, has joined its global network. Read the Press release at:
http://www.origin-gi.com/images/stories/PDFs/English/OriGIn_publications/Press_releases/oriGIn_Press_Release_NVV.pdf

Ida Puzone
Project Manager – oriGIn
1, rue de Varembé 1202, Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 755 08 34; Fax: +41 22 755 01 72
Mailto: ida@origin-gi.com  http://www.origin-gi.com 

CBB Talk Story Notes of 04/24-KCFA

Please post all questions and replies to the Forum- Coffee Bean Borer.

April 24, 2012 CTAHR Kainaliu- 3:30- 5 pm- about 60 people in attendance
CBB Talk Story w/Bob Smith, Andrea Kawabata, and Suzanne Shriner

Smith says need for working entomologist now.  Email Russell.s.kokubun@hawaii.gov

Kawabata said HDOA has PT data-gathering position listed.  Good for college students

(Audience) L. Winn (900 foot elevation) said sprayed last week using 11 oz. Botanigard w/2 oz. Spreader still sees new beetles

Shriner citing Colombia study  stated:  The more water you use/acre the better- ideally 100 gallons/acre, Shriner suggested 30 gallons/acre at a minimum

Shriner: citing Colombian study said 7 – 10 oz.  fungus solution with 4 oz. Spreader per acre.  Silicone Spreader as important as fungus. Shriner said to get fungus on soil

Smith said results after spraying should show up w/week

Shriner said commercial fungus may survive on its own.  Cited Patent violations of growing your own however, and graver violations of buying from other farmers if used as “pesticide’

(Audience) M.Dasilva:  what time of day to spray?
Shriner:  Spray in afternoon when beetles are most active

(Audience) J. Oster gave illustration of 4 farms side/side with varying results- variables included shade cover/times sprayed/row arrangement all w/different results- long discussion on variables

Shriner:  Colombian study able to reduce CBB damage to .5% by picking every 2-3 weeks

(Audience) Gallien Wraye, inventor of Magick Solution citing systemic effect by Dr. John Lucas of UK. Magick ingredients included, rainwater, organic Molasses, salt (incomplete list) and EM1.  Available for sale.

Shriner:  EM1 speeds up composting and uses it 6 x a year

(Audience) J. Oster has observed live adult beetles in stored coffee at 9% relative humidity

ShrinerSpray now! Bees have moved away from flowers and ground can be sprayed at any time. Put all cherries in plastic bucket, cover tightly, or spray with pyrethrins or fungus. Beans should be double bagged before taking to waste station.  CBB can chew through thin plastic covers.  Photo passed around of chew damage.

(Audience) L. Kong:  in late afternoon/evening, observed swarm of CBB coming off ground for several hours, finally observed them flying into cherry/ flower clusters.  Kong sets traps near ground level to catch CBB coming off ground.

(Audience) B. Corker stated need for controlled data study —“only anecdotal here today”

(Audience) S. Scarr asked if Traps were for Control or for Sampling?
Smith cited Eric Jang as saying “Traps excellent way to monitor population, not to control” with perhaps up to 1 million beetles per acre

(Audience) D. Harens suggested use of sticky traps
Shriner would like evaluation of use of sticky traps

(Audience) R. Barnes citing Sean Nelson (?) said CBB damage is lower and production is higher with combined usage of Fungus solution + kaolin clay product known as Surround

Smith suggested meeting back in 60 days to make further observations and audience in agreement.

Shriner asked that a CBB web Forum be accessible to all.  Kona Coffee Farmers Association to set up Forum soon.

Next Meeting is reserved for June 21- CTAHR 3:30-5pm ***everyone welcome!

OriGIn Report April 2012

From OriGIn
TO:  KCFA
Dear Members,

oriGIn, Insight Consulting and REDD are glad to announce that the Consortium they established has been awarded a contract by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market and Services, for a study on Geographical Indication (GI) protection for non-agricultural products in the European Union (EU):

http://www.origin-gi.com/images/stories/PDFs/English/OriGIn_publications/Press_releases/Press_Release_NON_Agri_GI_EN.pdf

Kind regards,
Ida

Kona Coffee Blossom Banquet

We want you to  join us!  Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 5-9pm
at the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel

Cocktails (no-host) from 5 pm
Registration/Social Time
Silent Auction begins
Welcome Remarks
Sumptuous Hawaiian Buffet Dinner at 6:30 pm
Silent Auction ends at 7 pm and
Live Auction begins

Tickets $45 each (inclusive)

Fun for Everyone!

go to our KCFA Store and get your tickets now!

            Supporting Business Donations

  • Matson Terminals
  • Kona Trans
  • HELCO
  • Meadow Gold Dairies
  • Horizon Lines 
  • West Hawaii Today(50/50 Ad cost)                        

KCFA Angels
* Bob Perry
* Diane Keffer

Live Auction Items

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Kohala Coast Adventure for 2 $550 Value

Hilton Waikoloa Dolphin Quest  Encounter- for Two $400

Jeanne Marie Imports- Buddha garden art

Kona Brewing Co.  Five gallons , Your Choice – $85

Sheraton Two Night – $750

Sherri Johns Whole Cup Coffee Consulting LLC -$500

Soil Plus-a load of soil – $771.80

 
Silent Auction Items

Activities
 

Atlantis Submarines - Complimentary Dive for 2 guests

Body Glove Cruises – Complimentary cruise for 2

Captain Zodiac – 4 hour raft and snorkel adventure for 2

Fair Wind Cruises – Afternoon Snorkel & Snack Cruise for 2

Sea Quest Rafting Adventures – Complimentary afternoon Snorkel for 2

Farm  

Al’s Home & Farm Supply

Coffea Consulting – Sensory analysis of a single coffee.

Captain Cook Trading Co. – the world’s best Macadamia Nutcracker

Farm and Garden – Backpack Sprayer

Kimura’s Lauhala Shop - 1 straw hat w/visor, ladies visor & coin purse

Mountain Thunder- Gift Certificate

Soil Culture Consulting - Complimentary Consultation 2 hours

For you
 

Alii Design & Printing - Gift Certificate

Akamai Pest Control – 2 gift certificates worth $500 each off termite tenting

Big Island Gear – Gift Certificate

Big Island Jewelry – 14K yellow gold & ruby ring

Spike Blaine – hand made Koa paddle

Copy Post Plus – Gift Certificate

Dean, Marty  Facial Fitness- Total Skin/Body Care

Discount Fabric Warehouse - Gift Certificate

Gourmet Chef’s Supply – Gift Certificate

Hawaiian Cowboys Ladies Shirts – 6 different colors & styles to choose from

Kona Indich Collection  – Pashmina/silk shawl from Nepal

Kona Natural Soap Company - Gift Box of 3 Natural Soaps

Fran McClure- Rare Faceted Apatite Tear Drop Pearl necklace & earrings, both Sterling

Pacific Island Fitness Two – 1 Month memberships

Paradise Found Two Gift Certificates

Peter Von Hair Designs - Gift Certificate for one haircut

Quilt Passions & Needlework Shop -Gift Certificate for 1 all-day class & 1 wall quilt packet to make

Scarr Family Farms

Starbucks

Terri Nahl Permanent Cosmetics - Gift Certificate (Lash Extensions)

The Club in Kona - Two Complimentary 1 month memberships

Vivian Green Paper Artist – Handmade  cards

Home

Blessed Marianne Copp Ministries- Two gift Baskets

Originals by Hitomi – Handmade Baby quilt

Kailua Candy Company – Lavender Jade bracelet and Chinese figurine

Carlene Keller – Handmade Wall Quilt

Mark Kimball – Hand made sculpted Lava Pot

Makalei Estates/Joe Butterweck- Handmade Hawaiian woods Cutting Board

Miles Mason Waimea Studio – Painted Bamboo Vase

Mark Miller/Complete Art Service Hawaii- Watercolor Giclee

Mr. Maid - Gift certificate for 2 hours cleaning

Siriani & Associates- The Sharper Image super wave oven

Statements Furniture

Sunrise Nursery – Two  Gift Certificates

Volcano Winery – 6 Assorted Wines

Voyagers - The First Hawaiians  DVD

Wine Market- Gift Certificate

Hotels, Restaurants,and Food

Bamboo Restaurant-Hawi- Two Gift Certificates

Big Jakes Island BBQ & Catering –  Full Rack Dinner

Fish Hopper-  “Locals” breakfast for 2  and  3 course “Locals” menu for 2

Gio’s Gelato & Italian Pastry Shop – Gift Certificate

Harbor House - Five Gift Certificates

Jackie Reys Ohana Grill – Gift Certificate

Keei Cafe - (alcohol not included) Gift Certificate

Killer Tacos – Two 2 free lunch specials

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel – Prime Rib & Seafood Buffet for Two

Kona Cold Lobsters LTD - Two  Gift Certificates

Lilikoi Inn- Two Attendees at the Monthly Feast

Merriman’s Market Cafe- Gift Certificate – Dinner for 2

Mi’s Italian Bistro – Gift Certificate

Orchid Thai Cuisine – Fine Thai Food – Gift Certificate

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa - Two nights stay

The Strawberry Patch- Honuaino Square – Gift Certificate

Please support those who SUPPORT US when you have a choice!!!

Protect Kona Coffee – Mandatory Certification of Origin IS Necessary!

VETO HB 280 Repealing Mandatory Certification Hawaii-grown Green Coffee

Please sign our Online Petiton to ask the Governor of Hawaii to REPEAL HB280
Sign the Petition

Dear KCFA Members and Appreciators of 100% Kona Coffee:

HB280 (Repeal of Mandatory Inspection and Certification of Green Coffee) appears almost certain to be adopted by the Hawaii Legislature at the request of the Blenders/Processors.

We need your help.  We need you to join this petition asking Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie to veto HB280 in order to protect the integrity of Kona and other Hawaii-grown coffees.

This bill would be disastrous for the growers and the buyers of Hawaii-grown coffee.  By repealing mandatory certification of grade and origin this bill exposes all Hawaii coffee to the threat of another Kona Kai coffee counterfeiting scandal.  The current mandatory system has been successfully administered by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for more than a decade.  This system has provided a measure of assurance as to the origin and quality of Hawaii-grown coffee to buyers throughout the world.

We need your help in getting the message to the Governor to VETO this bill.

Mahalo from your Kona Coffee Farmers Association

Please sign our Online Petiton to ask the Governor of Hawaii to REPEAL HB280
Sign the Petition

April 2012 Newsletter

Message from President Cecelia B Smith

It’s a date!
Gather your shekels and come to THE Annual Fundraiser of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association held Saturday, April 28, 5-9 pm at the beautifully renovated King Kamehameha Beach Hotel. The Kona Coffee Blossom Banquet is a time to chat with fellow farmers and other supporters, enjoy a scrumptious Hawaiian Buffet and bid on beautiful objects and intriguing  experiences- from Soil to Beer. And the end result- raise money so the KCFA can continue its good work. We have been very active this year in sending over to Honolulu superb KCFA representatives, multiple times, to protect our Kona Coffee interests in the State Legislature which is not an enviable job. Airfares cost money and these volunteers are giving their professional time for free. Lucky us! We’d also like to buy some audio visual equipment so we can have quality  educational presentations sponsored by the KCFA, without a technical learning curve – each time. We just need to raise money and that is why we need every Member’s support at the Kona Coffee Blossom Banquet.
Tickets are available for $45 inclusive now, so go online to our KCFA STORE. Tickets will go fast!
See you there for a great evening with lots of aloha!

Mahalo nui – We sincerely thank each of our Corporate Sponsors for their generous donations to the Kona Coffee Blossom Banquet:
Matson Terminals, Kona Trans, HELCO and Horizon Lines. Please support them when you can.

Volunteers Needed: Mary Lou Moss, our Kona Coffee Blossom Chair says:  Please help by emailing: marylou@cuppakona.com or calling 329-4035/896-4175. We need your valuable help with setting up auction items, collecting the auction items after the silent auction is over and people to help with the checking out/payment of items. Come join the fun at our annual Fundraiser!

aloha, Cea


Battling the Coffee Berry Borer

Sales of supplies to combat the coffee berry borer were excellent. Mahalo to Sandra Scarr for working so diligently on getting the products at a substantially lower cost. We also want to thank Alvin Sato/BEI for his helpful assistance. We had a great first run, and we have some left.
As of March 31, we have 6 quarts of Botanigard (Member price: $59 and Nonmember price: $60.50), we have 22 gallons of Eco-spreader (Member price: $106.85 and Nonmember price: $108.65 ) and we have 64 quarts of Mycotrol (Member price: $79 and Nonmember price: $81) in stock.
Please note: Members get a discount, so Login and then go to the Store. Help us to move it along as the KCFA has already paid for this, and we think you need it!


REMINDER
On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, the KCFA Monthly Board Meetings are moving…to the CTAHR Office in Kainaliu, mauka of the Aloha Theater. 4-5:30 pm. Members are welcome and encouraged to attend!


CBB Talk Story

Coffee berry borer on coffee bean

Mark Your Calendars!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012- CTAHR (Kainaliu)- CBB “Talk Story”- 3:30-5pm. Led by Bob Smith, Andrea Kawabata and Suzanne Shriner. An informal gathering to exchange ideas on what is working, what is not working. What are farmers doing and what are farmers’ results? A time to see if we can come up with any “Best Practices” from  actual experiences. Everyone is encouraged to attend.


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

HB 280 (Repeal of Mandatory Coffee Inspection & Certification):
The Legislative Committee thanks all those who sent written testimony in  opposition to HB 280 for the March 13 hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee.
There were 35 written testimonies submitted in opposition and 24 in support. Many of the testimonies in support were “form” letters—repeating exactly the suggested language sent out by Jim Wayman of Hawaii Coffee Company. KCFA Legislative Committee members Bruce Corker, Dave Case and Colehour Bondera traveled to Honolulu and gave in-person testimony urging the Legislature not to abandon the certification system put in place after the Kona Kai Coffee Counterfeiting Scandal of the mid-1990s. At the conclusion of the March 13 hearing, the extent of opposition testimony and the strength of opposition’s arguments raised genuine concerns for Senator Clarence Nishihara, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He deferred a ruling on the bill for a week and encouraged the parties to see if an agreed position could be reached.

In response to Senator Nishihara’s suggestion, Bruce, Dave and Colehour spent two and a quarter hours in a conference call with Jim Wayman on 3/15 and three-quarters of an hour in a conference call on 3/16 with Sen. Nishihara, Jim Wayman, Roger Kaiwi-Machen, and the HDOA’s Jeri Kahana–all of whom were in the Senator’s office in Honolulu. Despite these telephone discussions and hours of work by the KCFA to draft legislative provisions addressing their concerns with the current certification system, the Blenders/Processors continued to insist on a repeal of the mandatory system of inspection and certification by the HDOA that has been in place for more than a decade.

Despite an express finding in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s report that “the grading and certification standards for Hawaii-grown green coffee are important for preserving the integrity of Hawaii’s coffee industry and protecting consumers”, the Committee bowed to the requests of the Blender/Processors and passed the bill on March 20—as did the Senate Ways and Means Committee on March 29.

At this point the only apparent step that will prevent the enactment of HB280 and a return to the days of Kona Kai would be a veto by the Governor. In coming days the Legislative Committee will be asking KCFA members to assist in urging the Governor to exercise his veto power in order to preserve the current system that provides some measure of protection for the integrity and quality of Hawaii-grown coffee.

“DOWN BLENDED COFFEE”
Because there are professional blenders of coffee that are very proud of their craft, the KCFA will now use the term “down blended coffee” when referring to the 10% Kona blends that do not tell of the other 90%.

Notes about the Strength of our Membership
Thank you all 293 (!) fully paid up to 2012 and beyond, KCFA Membership Chair, Louise Hanna wrote…

  • When we testify before the legislature: our membership numbers create our strength.
  • When we ask for CBB assistance from the Department of Ag or other government agencies: our membership numbers create our strength.
  • When we contract with wholesalers to buy direct the chemicals we need to fight the CBB: our participating members are our strength to lower the price.
  • When we share our farming experience: our individual members are our strength.

It has been a difficult two years for Kona Coffee Farmers; The Kona Coffee Farmers Association is here for you.


Membership!
KCFA is proud to be the LARGEST group of Kona Coffee Farmers bar none, more than 250 of whom are active farmers! Encourage your neighbors and friends to join in as a voice for the Kona Coffee Community online at konacoffeefarmers.org/join.asp or call 329-4035 and do it via the telephone.


Look for our Kona Coffee Blossom Banquet’s Colored Display ads in the West Hawaii today on April 15th and 22nd.
West Hawaii Today is doing a 50/50 ad sponsor for us.

Getting Connected is…
Getting an UPDATE!

The total uploading of our new Kona Coffee Farmers Association website will be complete on May 1st. Using an open source program (WordPress), we’re getting a freshly organized, crisp new venue. Same www.KonaCoffeeFarmers.org address, of course. The current website is almost 5 years old and boy(!) have things changed since then. All the same information will be available, in a slightly different format. Our BUY DIRECT FROM FARMER button is enlarged and in a more Obvious position. Our Buy Direct button was the original reason to have a website – for our Members to have direct contact with the public, selling their stuff. FYI-In March of 2012, we got 1226 “Farm Clicks”, meaning 1226 different views of your Buy Direct listings, so keep them updated for your own sake. (To say nothing of the 31,023 OTHER page visits on the KCFA site recorded for March 2012!) The KCFA website has grown to include lots of extremely valuable information for our Farmers. Our original needs have expanded and we’re keeping up with the times!


Letters

Letters to the editor are always encouraged. The following is a tongue-in-cheek testimony submittal.

Crooked Coffee Company
Beagle Boyz Lane, PO Box 242, Kealakekua, Hawaii 96750
Home of 100% Kona Coffee
(may be from Central or South America)

Dear Chairperson Oshiro and Members of the Committee, Thank you this opportunity to support HB280 this bill that will make our job so much easier. We at the Crooked Coffee Company think that that Kona is all hype and that there is coffee from central and South America that is just as good and really cheap. There are peasant down there that work for almost nothing, but they work hard and grow really good coffee and have been doing so for years before the first coffee tree was ever planted in Hawaii. We love that this a voluntary certification program. We are pretty good with Microsoft Word and can print all the certificates that you want and no more pesky State Inspectors to deal with. We have hired Michael from Kona Kai Coffee (he is out of jail) as a consultant so we can learn from his mistakes..
Do not worry about us bring in the coffee borer. We all ready did that so it will not be a problem. If other pests come in we do not care, because our coffee is not from Kona except in name. Forget about those Kona Coffee Farmers who are always complaining about blends and want 100% Kona Coffee. They do  understand that the real coffee business is in the blends in Honolulu. Honolulu is 90% of the coffee business and Kona is 10%. For being a bunch of retired, haole, yuppie Doctors and lawyers they are not very smart about the real world. You have to pay ($$$) to play.
This is perfect we can buy coffee for a dollar a pound and sell it for ten dollars a pound. We always remember who helps us and we want to help you. Although we do not have to do so (wink, wink) we want to support your good work and wisdom as our representatives. So just let us know where to send or campaign donations.
Yours (mostly) truly,
B. S. Burtiz, CEO
(Crooked Executive Officer)
bsbpx@yahoo.com
Our motto: Kona Coffee (from where ever) — it has a buzz and is an okay cup of coffee


Upcoming EVENTS

Worker Protection Standard Workshop
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Location: CTAHR Kainaliu
5:30pm-7:30pm- Refreshments will be served!
Derek Shigematsu- Pesticide Application Instructor.
1.5 credits towards Pesticide Applicatiors License.
RSVP!
Call Didi (coordinator) at 887-6183 or email at mddiaz@hawaii.edu or, call Andrea Kawabata at 322-4894 or email at andreak@hawaii.edu to reserve a seat. Leave a message with your name and telephone number.

HB280 – Letter to The Honorable Clarence K. Nishihara, Chairman, Senate Agriculture Committee

E-MAILED—ORIGINAL TO FOLLOW

March 17, 2012

The Honorable Clarence K. Nishihara       Kona Coffee Farmers Association
Chairman, Senate Agriculture Committee                                   Legislative Committee
State Capitol, Room 204                        P.O Box 5436 Kailua-Kona, HI 96745
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Dear Senator Nishihara:

RE:  HB280, HD1/SD1 (Relating to Agriculture)

Thank you, for including us in the meeting yesterday on HB 280 with the Hawaii Coffee Company and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture in your offices.  We regret that we could not attend in person as discussing this complicated and highly charged issue over the phone proved difficult.  It might have been better if we all could have shared a cup of coffee.

We are aware that the Hawaii Coffee Company and those for whom they speak represent some of the largest commercial interests in Hawaii.  KCFA and other grass roots farming organizations also represent important people—the hundreds of families in Kona and throughout Hawaii who farm.  The suggestion by others in the meeting that KCFA is just some “50 people” whose views are not equal to those large commercial interests was disingenuous and insulting.

As is discussed in the attached memo sent before the meeting, we felt our March 15 teleconference with the Hawaii Coffee Company was productive.  We thought it brought us closer together on the issue of protecting the commercial value of Hawaii’s “origin” coffees.  We fully agree that guaranteeing the origin of Kona and Hawaii’s other unique coffees is vital to all our futures and the future of many Hawaiians.

We obviously differ on the best way to do that, but our views should not be dismissed because they differ from others who seem to claim their views are more important.  As we said at the very beginning of the meeting, we hoped that the discussion would not be a matter of only two sides and that we would try to find a middle ground.  Unfortunately we may all ehave run off a cliff.

We do not think, as the Department of Agriculture has repeatedly testified, that: “a voluntary certification program, and mandatory compliance with grading standards and origin documentation . . . will provide sufficient protection for Hawaii’s coffee industry.”   We are concerned that “documentation”, without HDOA’s oversight and “certification” of origin will just amount to enhanced record keeping and do little to guarantee origin.

Mandatory certification of at least “Prime” grade, for all wholesale quantities of green coffee shipped out of origin is a key component of HDOA’s current rules for certifying origin.  Jettisoning even this minimal quality assurance in favor of “voluntary certification” will, as it has before, enable fraud and erode the reputation of Kona and other Hawaiian origin coffees.   Quality assurance is a component of successful product origin regimes.  We are advised, for example, that the lack of a single quality standard in Puerto Rico has eroded buyer confidence there.

We also agree with others at the meeting that HDOA’s current grade certification procedures are too subjective, often ad hoc and not in compliance with HDOA’s own rules.  This has likely contributed to the frustration many feel with the grade certification process.  That is why we suggested a more objective way of determining “Prime” certification as a way to preserve the current minimum quality requirements of HDOA’s rules.

Though it fell to me to write this letter,  KCFA’s leadership has vetted and approved it.  KCFA agrees with many of the points and concerns HB280’s proponents have raised, but will be compelled to continue to oppose the bill if it does not include a more robust program to protect “origin” than has thus far been proposed.

Very Truly Yours,
KCFA Legislative Committee

S/  David S. Case
By:  David S. Case, Member

cc-Electronic Only:
Cea Smith, President, KCFA
Glenn Martinez, President, Hawaii Farmers Union United,
Senator Gilbert Kahele
Senator Josh Green, M.D.
Russell Kokubun, HDOA Chair
Wendy Clerinx, Advisor to the Governor
John Buckstead, Advisor to the Governor
Bruce Corker, Chair, KCFA Legislative Committee
Colehour Bondera, Member, KCFA Legislative Committee
Jim Wayman, President, Hawaii Coffee Co.
West Hawaii Today
Honolulu Star Advertiser
Associated Press

Enclosure (as stated)

 

MEMORANDUM

TO:  Senator Clarence K. Nishihara,
Chairman, Hawaii State Senate
Committee on Agriculture

THROUGH:  Senator Gilbert Kahele
Vice-Chairman, Hawaii State Senate
Committee on Agriculture

FROM:  Legislative Committee, Kona Coffee Farmers Association (KCFA)

SUBJECT:  HB280, SD1 (RELATING TO AGRICULTURE)

DATE:  March 16, 2012

A.  INTRODUCTION

At the conclusion of its March 13 hearing on HB280, HD1, the Senate Agriculture Committee deferred the Bill for decision until March 20.  The Chair advised the proponents and opponents of the Bill that he would make time to meet with them to see if a mutually acceptable HB280, SD1 could be drafted for the Committee’s approval.  Otherwise the Bill would die.

KCFA President Emeritus, Colehour Bondera, Legislative Committee Chair, Bruce Corker, and Committee Member, David Case, met with Hawaii Coffee Company President, Jim Wayman, by teleconference on March 15.  A diplomat might say that it was a “full and frank discussion” of the background, purpose and the language that the proponents have advanced in support of the Bill as well as questions and concerns KCFA has about it.

B. DISCUSSION

  1. HB 280’s Origin and Purpose

 

The Bill’s proponents, representing some of Hawaii’s largest coffee growers, processors and marketers, contend that the current mandatory certification of grade and origin in Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) §147-7(d) and the corresponding prohibitions under HRS §147-23(b) should be repealed. Instead they propose a program of mandatory documentation (but not certification) of origin with severe criminal penalties and voluntary certification of grade.  The proponents have developed these proposals in consultation with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), but for various reasons were not able to draft the legislation now being proposed until shortly before the Committee’s March 13 hearing.

KCFA was not invited to participate in this process and was unaware of the purpose and background of the legislation until the March 15 teleconference.  Based primarily on that teleconference, KCFA understands that mandatory certification of grade has become an obstacle to the effective marketing of Hawaiian coffee—particularly large quantities of green coffee, but also natural coffees and coffee with defects due to coffee berry borer damage. The proponents also voice concern that HDOA’s grade certification criteria are subjective and often ad hoc without any basis in HDOA’s rules.  These factors, coupled with reductions in the number of HDOA inspectors in 2009, have led to some delays in coffee inspection and certification resulting in significant financial and business uncertainty for coffee processors and marketers.

  1. KCFA’s Current Position

 

a.  Origin Documentation/Certification
KCFA is an organization generally representing small, family coffee and mixed crop farms of between 2 to 10 acres located in the historic Kona Coffee District of Hawaii County.  Ever since the notorious Kona Kai scandal, its members have relied on HDOA’s inspection and certification of both grade and origin to insure the high quality and corresponding market price of Kona coffee.  KCFA agrees that tougher, more consistent certification (not just “documentation”) of origin is essential to protect the statewide, Hawaiian coffee industry from counterfeiting of the sort that led to the Kona Kai affair.  We are concerned that merely “documenting” origin will be or become a mere matter of record keeping without active HDOA oversight (that is certification) of origin.

b.  Grade Certification
KCFA also agrees that HDOA’s current criteria for inspecting and grading coffee are often too subjective and susceptible to the inspectors’ ad hoc determinations that have no basis in HDOA’s rules.  For example, we know of situations where parchment has been down graded because it had been stored more than 8 months, even though it was stored in a climate controlled room and to the best of our knowledge was not otherwise defective under the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR).  See HAR §4-143-6(i), (j) and (k).

KCFA believes, however, that some certification as to quality is necessary to maintain Hawaiian “origin” coffee’s reputation and market value.  We believe that outright abandonment of any required HDOA grade determination will lead the consumers of Hawaii’s origin coffees to conclude that they are of inferior or at least uncertain quality.  A system requiring all “origin” coffees to be of at least “Prime” quality to be certified as to their specific Hawaiian origin would meet this concern.  See Hawaii Administrative Rule (HAR) §4-143-6(e), (f) and (g).  KCFA would propose, however, that this determination be made solely by visual and other more objective requirements than taste—eliminating the requirement that Prime coffee be brewed to be certified as is now required under HAR §4-143-6(e).

  1. Proposed HB280, SD1 Language

 

The language HB280’s proponents have informally advanced as currently drafted illustrates the difficulty of writing legislation to address complex problems in the rushed time frame of a legislative session.  That is particularly true as in this case when the legislation was introduced after the January 25, 2012 deadline for bill introduction and could not be sufficiently researched, vetted with a wider range of stakeholders and given a thorough and deliberate legal review.  The core of the proposal is new §147-11 (“Hawaii Coffee Counterfeiting”) to be added to “Part I” HRS Chapter 147 (dealing with the general rules relating to commodities), yet the definitions to be used in §147-11 are lodged in Part II of HRS Chapter 147, dealing with the “export” of those commodities.

Beyond that the definitions themselves define terms that either are not used in §147-11 (such as “Coffee Cherry” and “Coffee Parchment”) or terms used in §147-11 (such as “beans”) that are defined differently in the applicable regulations.  Compare HAR §4-143-3 defining “Bean” to mean only  “the seed of the fruit of the coffea arabica plant” and proposed HRS §147-21 defining “Hawaii grown coffee” to mean “beans grown in the State of Hawaii, to include unroasted seeds of the coffee plant in all its forms including coffee cherry(ies) and coffee parchment.”  Proposed §147-11 imposes criminal penalties for its violation.  The terms on which it relies should be carefully defined to avoid ambiguity as to their meaning that might frustrate prosecution.

C. CONCLUSIONS

KCFA is willing to work out a  mutual solution, but without surrendering the integrity of Hawaii’s origin coffees through self-directed quality certifications that are notoriously subject to abuse and deception as Kona Kai taught us.  KCFA supports the intent of HB280 and could support the legislation if it can be revised to provide for a more robust “certification” system to ensure the integrity of both the origin and the basic quality of Hawaii’s unique specialty coffees as well as successful prosecution for violating the statute.  If those purposes can be agreed upon, the Bill must be carefully drafted to achieve them.  KCFA proposes that it prepare the next draft of HB280, SD1 for consideration.