The Hawaii Board of Agriculture today placed coffees from two Oahu properties owned by Dole Foods under quarantine restrictions due to the recent detection of a coffee berry borer (CBB) infestation.
The 62-hectare Waialua Estate Coffee Farms and associated Old Waialua Sugar Mill, where coffee is roasted — are in a contained area, and the board says the restrictions do not currently apply to other Oahu farms. Coffee producers from the big island of Hawaii have been under the same restriction since the presence of CBB was first detected in 2010.
“It is critical in situations like this that the department and the industry work closely together,” Scott Enright, chairperson of the HBOA, said yesterday. “We appreciate the strong leadership of Hawaii’s coffee industry and the complete cooperation of Dole in this matter.”
Native to Africa, the coffee borer beetle has the potential to destroy an entire crops of infested coffee, and previous outbreaks over the decades in all of Africa (1920s), Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia and Puerto Rico have all had short-term devastating effects with long-term economic implications.
“It is still unknown how CBB made its way to Hawaii Island and how it came to Oahu,” says the HDOA, which adds that some infested Hawaii island farms have managed to keep crop losses to less than 20 percent through the use of organic pesticides and other management practices.
The quarantine will require an HDOA permit for the transport of unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags or coffee harvesting equipment from CBB-infested islands to other non-infested areas. Even with a permit, HDOA inspectors will have to individually approve shipments. As part of the quarantine, roasting of coffees from infested farms must also be conducted at least five miles away from any commercial coffee farm.