From KCFA’s Pest and Disease Committee
Have you ever brought in green coffee from outside the Big Island? Did you know there are strict rules on the importation of green coffee? Recently, a shipping box from a mainland green coffee retailer was spotted at the post office. Could this put us all at risk, again?
To prevent the spread of disease, it is illegal to import green African coffees, period. All South American green coffees must be fumigated.
As George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”
Coffee farming was pretty easy before September 2010 but that all changed when the first CBB were identified in South Kona. It has been suggested that the initial CBB beetle went rampant after coming into Kona via green beans from an infected area. As Kona coffee farmers we know what that initial infestation has cost us.
If we think CBB is dreadful, Coffee Rust/Roya would be deadly for the 180 year old history of Kona Coffee, and our heritage Kona typica. In 2013, Rust devastated the South American coffee economy.
Found in most of the coffee world, Coffee Rust/Roya spores are spread on green beans, equipment and through clothing. The spores get into the coffee plant via the tiny holes in the leaves that exchange oxygen for CO2, and are observed later as yellow spots on leaves. The leaves eventually drop off and the plant continues to weaken until death. Control is very costly and eradication is impossible, like CBB.
These regulations are in place (http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/AR-70.pdf and http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/pq/import-program/plant-quarantine-application-for-permits/) to protect our crop but we all need to help. Do not import green coffee into Hawaii unless you have the relevant permit and meet the state standards for disease prevention.
We must maintain awareness of the severity of Coffee Rust/Roja. Do your part!