KCC and the CBB
Yesterday sure was an eventful day, because not only did I mount Mauna Kea, but I also attended my first Kona Coffee Council (KCC) meeting. A big thing in Kona at the moment is the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) which is a little beetle that loves eating coffee beans. It bores its way into the cherry, lays all its eggs and they eat up the bean inside. It’s a massive problem in coffee-producing countries throughout the world because it is so hard to kill and it spreads really quickly. They’re newest method of stopping it, is to spray a fungus on all your crops. The fungus kills a lot of insects, but is not really dangerous to anything larger than an insect. It doesn’t last very long though so you need to reapply it a lot. It’s pretty expensive at $56 a quart and that quart will do you one acre of trees. So on our farm of 5 acres we’ll need $280 of the stuff to do the whole thing. In Peru they’re reapplying this thing once every TWO WEEKS, that’s $560 a month! The thing spreads so fast that if everybody isn’t trying to get rid of it, then the numbers will never be kept down because it’ll just hop over from adjacent farms. Not only that, but the fungus alone will not bring it down that much, there’s other methods used. Each method will bring down the amount of bugs by a certain % but you’ve got to do a lot of these methods to keep it at bay.
It’s a funny bunch of people at KCC, a bunch of old white guys and a few Hawaiian farmers, the occasional Japanese farmer. They’re all putting in there 10 cents, repeating each other, answering the same questions, bringing up points from 15 minutes ago. It makes me think I’d be quite good at the political side of farming because I have this incredible ability to LISTEN to what people are saying at a meeting. It’s difficult translating their Americanisms, but even as a foreigner, I’m much better at listening than them.