WCR announces new bill to protect coffee supplies

Fairtrade report

The National Coffee Association (NCA), World Coffee Research (WCR), Synergistic Hawaii Agricultural Council (SHAC), and Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) welcome the Coffee Plant Health Initiative Amendments Act (CPHIAA, H.R. 966).

The amendment authorises research to combat pests and diseases that pose a threat to coffee supplies and farmers by expanding the scope of an existing initiative at the United States Department of Agriculture.

“More Americans, 66 per cent of adults, drink coffee each day than any other beverage. As agricultural research and development plays a crucial role in the future of America’s favourite beverage, NCA urges Congress to advance legislation that prioritises coffee as a key contributor to Americans’ daily lives, farmers’ livelihoods, and the United States economy, says William “Bill” Murray, President and CEO of the NCA.

Administrator of SHAC Suzanne Shriner says Hawaiian growers have suffered from diseases such as leaf rust, which cut crop yields in half in 2020 after causing US$1 billion in damages globally and forcing farm workers to abandon farms and even migrate.

“From Kona to Maui to Mayaguez, coffee is a fundamental part of our island cultures and drives over US$500 million in benefits to our communities. This bill focuses needed research attention on our biggest problems, while helping our small farmers stay in business”, says Shriner.

Executive Director of the HCA Chris Manfredi says the legislation will help Hawaii target resources towards the most immediate threats to coffee.

“By anticipating future threats, it will enable researchers to quickly pivot as they emerge and ensure the survival of one of Hawaii’s most important crops,’ he says.

According to CEO of World Coffee Research Vern Long the mainland coffee industry in the United States will also benefit from this legislation and resulting research.

“United States coffee businesses and drinkers rely on coffee grown around the world. CPHIAA will enable much-needed research at a time when coffee is under severe strain. Public research aligned with industry needs is critical to securing the future of coffee,” Long says.

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