Target: Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Commend USDA for granting federal funding towards fighting main threat to Hawaii’s coffee industry
The USDA has granted one million dollars in federal funding to battle the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB), the beetle that is destroying and threatening Hawaii’s coffee industry. This is the first time federal funding has been granted towards the issue.
The CBB began attacking Hawaii’s crops in 2010, and the devastation they cause is now the number one threat to the state’s industry. According to local entomologists, 100 percent of the island of Hawaii’s farms are under attack. The CBB attacks the plant by waiting at the end of the bean, and when the cherry matures and the bean hardens, digs into the bean, thus damaging the entire harvest. In addition to damaging mature beans by digging into them, the insects cause berries to fall prematurely, increase the vulnerability of berries to fungus or bacterial infection, and can cause yield losses of thirty to thirty-five percent, and in some cases, cause 100 percent of the yield to be damaged by time of harvest. It is also difficult to detect the beetles by sight, as they are approximately the size of common ants.
Hawaii is the only state that produces coffee, and its industry generates thirty-one million dollars per year. In order to preserve the industry and reduce costs for consumers (who have seen prices increase due to lost yields), this funding was sorely needed. The monies granted will go towards creating a CBB management program through the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center on the island of Hawaii. By signing the petition below, you will commend the USDA for helping to battle this issue.
Dear Tom Vilsack,
The USDA has recently granted the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center one million dollars in order to create a pest management program for the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB). This beetle first surfaced on the island of Hawaii in 2010, and has since grown to be the main threat to the state’s thirty-one million dollar coffee industry.
Hawaii is the only state that manufactures coffee. This unique feature is worth preserving, and by granting funds to battle the CBB, the USDA shows its commitment to preserving the country’s farming industries. While the state has previously allocated funding to battle this growing crisis, this is the first time federal funding has been given. We would like to commend you and the USDA for your support.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Shyamal via Wikimedia Commons