|Stan Troeller, founder of South Point U Cart.|
Photo by Annie Bosted
|Who will follow their footsteps? Stan Troeller and Kaida Houvener with a few|
a few of the concrete paving stones made from left-over mixed concrete, the
mainstay of the 42-year-old South Point U-Cart. Photo by Annie Bosted
|Coffee Leaf Rust is a major threat to Ka`u Coffee but help is on the way through more than|
$6 million in funding to solve the problem in Hawai'i and Puerto Rico. Photo from U.H.
COFFEE LEAF RUST, A MAJOR THREAT TO THE KAʻŪ COFFEE INDUSTRY, has prompted the release of federal money to come up with solutions to the problem in Hawai'i and Puerto Rico, the two major coffee growing places in the U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. Congressmen Ed Case and Kai Kahele announced $6,007,090 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food & Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative to Synergistic Hawai'i Agriculture Council. This four-year grant will support a coordinated approach to addressing CLR across various entities, including the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center; Agricultural Research Service's Tropical Agriculture Research Stations at University of Hawai'i and University of Puerto Rico, as well as Purdue and Michigan State Universities.
Hawai'i's U.S. senators weighed in. Hirono said, “Over the past year our more than 1,400 coffee growers in Hawaii have been dealing with one of the greatest threats to their industry. This funding will help bring together leading experts in coffee research to protect one of our most iconic crops, so coffee can continue contributing to our local economy and culture.” Schatz said, “This new federal funding is an important step supporting our coffee growers against Coffee Leaf Rust. By developing rust-resistant coffee varieties and researching the disease to better combat it, we’ll be able to protect and maintain the unique quality of Hawaii coffee. This is great news for our state.”
Hawai'i's congressmen weighed in. Case said, “This is very welcome news especially coming on the heels of the sobering discovery this summer that coffee leaf rust has spread to all the major islands in the State of Hawai'i. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked to secure millions of dollars in federal research funding for Hawai'i’s tropical specialty crops like coffee and macadamia nut, and while our funding has helped mitigate the effects of the macadamia felted coccid, coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust, current law limits the scope of federal research dollars. The members of our Hawai'i Congressional delegation last month introduced bicameral legislation to continue to battle these
Kahele said, “The success of Hawai'i’s coffee industry has been a priority of mine since my tenure in the State Senate, and now as a U.S. Congressman. Our coffee industry circulates more than $200 million annually in the local economy creating business and job opportunities back home. I applaud the team of dedicated scientists, farmers, project managers and others who crafted the award-winning Specialty Crop Research Initiative application and send my thanks to Suzanne Shriner, Executive Director of the Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council, for her leadership in securing federal dollars to address the coffee
"Finally, economic analyses of all activities will help our growers, large and small, determine which solutions are best for their farms. SHAC is looking forward to collaborating with the scientists of USDA, University of Hawai'i, Purdue, University of Puerto Rico and Michigan State University. We believe this team is uniquely capable of answering the challenging questions that this disease raises."
"Coffee Leaf Rust is a devastating fungus that up until last year was present in every coffee growing region of the world except Hawai'i. It was first detected in Hawai'i in October 2020 and its presence has since been confirmed on all main Hawaiian Islands. Spread of the fungus is difficult to control and if left untreated can result in more than 70 percent yield loss," says the joint statement from Hawai'i's congressional delegation.
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