HONOLULU — Earlier this month, the chairperson of the state Board of Agriculture designated Maui and Hawai‘i Island as areas infested by coffee leaf rust (CLR), Hemileia vastatrix.
This authorizes the state Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch to restrict the movement of coffee and other CLR carriers from Maui and Hawai‘i Island. The interim rule went into effect last week.
CLR is a devastating coffee pathogen, was first discovered in Sri Lanka in 1869, and can cause severe defoliation of coffee plants, resulting in premature defoliation and greatly reducing photosynthetic capacity.
Depending on CLR prevalence in a given year, both vegetative and berry growth are greatly reduced. There are multiple long-term impacts of CLR, including dieback, resulting in an impact to the following year’s crop, with estimated losses ranging from 30% to 80%.
The interim rule restricts the movement or transport of coffee plants and parts, including green coffee beans, used coffee bags, and used coffee harvesting, processing or transporting equipment, from a CLR-infested area to an area that is uninfested, except by permit issued by the DOA.
For additional details about the restrictions, the interim rule may be found at hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Final-Interim-Rule-20-1-Nov.20.2020.pdf.