Insect Threatens Hawaii's Top-Shelf Kona Coffee

Coffee berry borer will make beans pricier
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Suggested by savageviking
Posted Dec 7, 2010 4:37 PM CST
Insect Threatens Hawaii's Top-Shelf Kona Coffee
'   (AP)

(Newser) – Coffee from Hawaii's Kona coast is sought the world over—and can command a price of more than $50 a pound. But the Kona harvest is facing a grave danger: infestation from a the coffee berry borer, a relentless pest that can eradicate a crop, NPR reports. The borer eats beans from the inside out, leaving an empty husk. With many coastal areas already affected, authorities are trying to stop the insect from spreading from the Big Island to the others.

"This is the first time in my entire agriculture career that I've seen this type of problem come up where an insect is contained to one area that has this potential to devastate an entire industry," says an agricultural manager for Dole Food. Hawaiian coffee farmers can only hope that state-mandated treatment will curb the problem—while the rest of the world can expect to pay even more for Kona coffee.
(Read more coffee stories.)

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