Feds to spend $1 million to fight coffee berry borer
Hirono: Pest affected up to 80% of Big Island coffee farms
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $1 million to fight a pest that is plaguing coffee farms in the Big Island's Kona district.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono on Thursday said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined the department's plans to combat the coffee berry borer in a letter.
The insect smaller than a sesame seed bores its way into coffee cherries, digs a home and lays eggs. The beans from these cherries aren't usable for making coffee.
Hirono says the pest has affected up to 80 percent of Big Island coffee farms.
The senator says the money is the first major federal commitment specifically for fighting the borer.
She says the department will work with coffee farmers, the state Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawaii on the project.
Click here to see more pictures of the coffee berry borer beetle.
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