On Wednesday the four members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation introduced bills to increase research into threats to the U.S. coffee and macadamia nut industries.

The Coffee Plant Health Initiative Amendments Act and Macadamia Tree Health Initiative Amendments Act would remove existing restrictions on the “limited scope” of research and grant funding for coffee plants and macadamia trees, according to a press release.

A bill that would've required coffee packaged under a Hawaii name to contain at least 50% locally-grown beans is among the dead bills.

Under current law, research for both crops only address two invasive and harmful species: the macadamia felted coccid and coffee berry borer.

“Coffee and macadamia nuts are uniquely Hawaii crops which support local jobs and are the mainstays of Hawaii agriculture,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “We must keep them competitive, and that begins with science-based management.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono and Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele are also backing the bills.

Chris Manfredi, president of the Hawaii Coffee Association, and Nathan Trump, president of the Hawaii Macadamia Nut Association, welcomed the legislation, calling it vital to their respective industries.

The annual combined farm gate value — that is, the market value minus selling cost — of mac nuts and coffee is estimated to be over $100 million.

Not a subscription

Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
 
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
 
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.

About the Author