May 24, 2019
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County Democratic Party Resolutions on Agriculture’s Fair Marketing Issues

The Hawaii County Democratic Party held its 2012 convention on May 5 in Honoka’a. Two of the resolutions adopted by the delegates are copied below:  Resolution #12HCD/2012 “Calling for Truthful Marketing of Kona Coffee” and Resolution #16HCD/2012 “Relating to Protection of ‘Origin’ Products and Their Small Farm Economies”.

These and other resolutions adopted at the County Convention will be forwarded to the State Democratic Convention in Honolulu later this month (May 25-27) for consideration at the State level.
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Resolution #12HCD/2012 Calling for Truthful Marketing of Kona Coffee

Whereas, the unique climatic and soil conditions of the Kona region on the Island of Hawaii are ideal for cultivation of coffee; and

Whereas, the care, skill and cultivation practices of Kona coffee farmers, most of whom operate small family-owned farms, have resulted in recognition of Kona coffee as one of the world’s premier specialty coffees; and

Whereas, existing Hawaii statutes allow unfair and deceptive business practices which are used to deceive consumers into believing that packages containing 90% foreign-grown coffee are “Kona Coffee”—thereby damaging the reputation for quality which Kona coffee farmers have built over generations of growing this heritage crop; and

Whereas, by way of example, HRS 486-120.6 permits the use of the “Kona” name on packaging of a coffee blend having as little as 10% Kona-grown coffee and 90% from unidentified foreign countries; and

Whereas, by way of further example, the writers of Consumer Reports in their review of Kona coffees confused “Kona Blends” with “Kona Coffee” and concluded that Kona coffee can be “second rate” on the basis of this common mistaken belief that “Kona Blends” are “Kona Coffee”; and

Whereas, the State of Hawaii should provide the same type of protections to its specialty crop farmers as the State of California provides to Napa Valley wine grape growers, as Idaho provides to Idaho potato farmers, and as Georgia provides to Vidalia onion farmers; and

Whereas, the Hawaii Legislature made a factual finding in Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 102 (2007) that “existing labeling requirements for Kona coffee causes consumer fraud and confusion and degrades the ‘Kona coffee’ name”; and

Whereas, Hawaii is the ONLY REGION ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD to permit the use of one of its heritage crops with only 10% genuine content; now therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Hawaii County Democrats request the members of the Hawaii County Democratic delegation in the State Legislature introduce and vigorously work for the adoption of legislation requiring a minimum of 51% Kona-grown coffee in any coffee package labeled as a “Kona Blend” and requiring prominent identification on the label of the country or region of origin of the non-Kona portion in such blend; and be it

Resolved, That all members of the Democratic delegation in the State Legislature vigorously support the adoption of this legislation; and be it

Resolved, That the secretary of the Hawaii Democratic Party mail to each Democratic Party member of the State Legislature a copy of this Resolution on or before June 1, 2012

Resolution #16HCD/2012 “Relating to Protection of ‘Origin’ Products and Their Small Farm Economies”

Whereas, “Origin” products such as Champagne from France, Napa Valley Wines from California, Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) Cheese from Italy, Tequila from Mexico, Potatoes from Idaho, and Vidalia Onions from Georgia are considered unique and valuable products because of the geographic locations where they are grown, as well as the care, skill and processes used to produce them; and

Whereas, origin products are high quality products whose unique characteristics bring higher prices in the market that are necessary to support small family farms and small farm economies; and

Whereas, national, state and international law protect origin products and their names from counterfeiting and being marketed as common commodities of a similar type; and

Whereas, these laws are essential to maintaining small, family origin farms and their economies; and

Whereas, the unique climatic and soil conditions of the Kona and the Ka’u regions on the Island of Hawaii are ideal for cultivation of coffee as are the conditions on Maui for the production of onions; and

Whereas, the care, skill and cultivation practices of Kona and Ka’u coffee farmers, most of whom operate small family-owned farms, have resulted in recognition of Kona and Ka’u coffee as among the world’s premier specialty coffees; and

Whereas, other high value crops such as tea and cacao are beginning to be produced throughout the state that also have high value qualities derived from the regions in which they are produced and the skill, care and processes used to create them; and

Whereas, the Hawaiian legislature has enacted laws that allow for the diluted blending and misleading labeling of origin coffee and this year considered a measure to permit the diluted blending of Hawaiian teas; and

Whereas, Hawaii is THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD that has adopted laws permitting the debasement of an origin product and the weakening of an origin farming economy; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Hawaii County Democrats request the members of the Hawaii County Democratic delegation in the State Legislature introduce and vigorously work for the adoption of legislation protecting origin coffee, tea, cacao and all other origin products that might be grown in Hawaii; and be it

Resolved, That such legislation be patterned on and meet the standards of the best practices adopted elsewhere in the United States and the world for the protection of origin products and the small farming economies they support; and be it

Resolved, That all members of the Democratic delegation in the State Legislature vigorously support the adoption of this legislation; and be it

Resolved, That the secretary of the Hawaii Democratic Party mail to each Democratic Party member of the State Legislature a copy of this Resolution on or before June 1, 2012.