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Hawaii HB280/HD1

2012-03-13 19:58:34.691442+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Michelle Joven, proprietor of Mama's Kona Coffee, which has sold me some of the tastiest coffee beans I've ever had the pleasure of roasting, brewing and drinking, posted on Facebook her "Opposition to HB280/HD1 (Repeal of Mandatory Coffee Inspection & Certification)". I asked for permission to repost her comments here. I'll put them in the comments.

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-13 19:59:26.278535+00 by: Dan Lyke

Michelle's comments follow in this message:

THIS IS A BAD BILL FOR THE INTEGRITY OF HAWAII-GROWN COFFEE. Unfortunately, HB280 has been passed on to the Senate by the House. It is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, March 13 in Honolulu. WE NEED EVERY KCFA MEMBER TO EMAIL TESTIMONY TO THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE--NOW. Here again is background on SB280/HD1:

The measure would undo the HDOA inspection and certification system for green coffee that was put in place in the 1990s after the Kona Kai Scandal. That inspection and certification system was intended to combat counterfeiting of Hawaii-grown coffee. The purpose of the bill is described on the Legislature’s website as: Removes the requirement that all Hawaii-grown green coffee beans shall be inspected and certified by the Department of Agriculture unless otherwise specified by rules of the Department. Removes the requirement that no Hawaii-grown green coffee beans shall be shipped outside the area of their geographic origin unless they have been inspected by the Department of Agriculture. (HB280 HD1)

It is now clear that this bill was drafted by, and introduced at the request of, the 10% Coffee Blenders and their Middlemen/Processor allies.[To see who those supporters are, go to the Hawaii State Legislature's website page for HB 280 and click on one of the House Ag or Finance Committee "testimony" links.] The only rationale for the bill given by these supporters is that a reduction in the number of HDOA inspectors has increased the time needed for inspection and certification. If delay is the problem, why not add more inspectors? The costs of the inspectors are paid by the owners of the coffee. The attachment to this email sets forth the responses to the arguments made by supports of this repeal--and may be helpful in preparing your testimony.

We had a major problem in the past, what makes us think it won’t happen again? The State of Hawaii should not be abandoning its anti-counterfeiting system--a system that has worked well for many years. Rather than retreating from anti-counterfeiting controls, the State of Hawaii should be affirmatively moving toward providing greater protections for Hawaii-grown coffee similar to what the State of Georgia provides for Vidalia Onions, Idaho provides for Idaho Potatoes, and California provides for Napa and Sonoma Wines.

To submit testimony—go to the Hawaii State Legislature website: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ ;on the home page enter “HB280” in the block for “Bill Status/Measure Status” and then click “go”; that will take you to the webpage for HB280; click on the “Submit Testimony” button at the top; then enter the requested information and copy and paste your testimony into the “Additional Comments” block. Because of the Legislature’s reporting system it is best if you indicate you are testifying on behalf of an “organization” KONA COFFEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION

This is important! Please send in your testimony as soon as possible. Mahalo!

Please take a few minutes and "OPPOSE" HB280. Comments: I mean no disrespect, but changing the law to meet the needs of a few people does not help those who are in need of protecting.

How does HB280 protect the 100% Kona Coffee farmers that work the land and try to create for the great State of Hawaii a signature crop. What I forsee happening is coffee from other countries filtering through the State of Hawaii and sold as Kona coffee. It was not that long ago that such a thing occured not more than 10 years ago.

Why do I see this occuring again...because for some reason "Made in Hawaii" doesn't always mean made here or grown here. It means that you can bring something in and build it or change it with something that is made here and if you can sell it for double the amount it costs you then you can claim it as "Made in Hawaii".

As a Kona coffee farmer it is hard enough for me to have to explain to customers the difference between 100% and 10% Kona Coffee and why the State of Hawaii would allow such a thing to occur. Apparently...money is power and since the average Kona coffee farmer really doesn't have any our voice becomes voiceless.

My hanai family has been farming coffee here in Kona for for 4 generations. It is our sweat and tears that worked this land. It is our struggle to make ends meet and now we are fighting the CBB. This piece of legislation will make it just that much harder and you want us to simply say it's okay? Go ahead and destroy what we've worked for. I don't get it!

We were promised legislation that would help farmers, help us fight the CBB, help us protect Kona coffee. I don't see this as helping anyone but a few people with alot of money who's pockets don't even live in Hawaii.

Please search your heart, search your own history of what has been done to Hawaiian culture...not your pockets...