2022 HFUU Legislative Priorities February 9, 2022

Aloha HFUU Members & Subscribers,
Hawaii Farmers Union United needs your supportive testimonies of HB1517! Please submit testimonies on time, before 2pm Thursday 2/10. Please click on the links below to support each bill. For a glitch-free experience, remember to login to capitol.hawaii.gov.


Report Title:Coffee Labeling; Blended Coffee; Percent of Coffee by Weight; Pesticide Subsidy Program; Appropriations 
Description:Requires coffee blend labels to disclose geographic and regional origins and percent by weight of the blended coffees. Prohibits using geographic origins of coffee in labeling or advertising for roasted or instant coffee that contains less than a certain percentage of coffee by weight from that geographic origin, phased in to a minimum of fifty-one percent after 7/1/2024. Prohibits use of the term “All Hawaiian” in labeling or advertising for roasted or instant coffee not produced entirely from green coffee beans grown in Hawaii. Appropriates moneys for the pesticide subsidy program and for purchasing equipment to test coffee content or the percentage of coffee from green coffee beans grown in Hawaii. Effective July 1, 2050.

The committee(s) has scheduled a public hearing on 02-11-22 2:00PM; Conference Room 329 & Videoconference.


Sample Testimony:


HFUU is a 501(c)(5) agricultural advocacy nonprofit representing over 1,500 family farmers and their supporters organized as 14 Chapters in the four Hawai’i Counties. That includes coffee farmers in Kona on Hawai’i Island.

Many such farmers have testified in support of this Bill. They speak as owners of family farms who are able to make a living because they grow, process and sell a high-value “Origin” coffee from “Kona” and other Hawaii Origins. It is well-recognized, as recounted in HB144, that the way in which Hawaii’s current law allows a 10% coffee blend to be labeled “Kona,” (or “Ka’u,” “Hamakua,” “Maui,” or “Kauai”) is “misleading”. The Legislature’s 2007 Concurrent Resolution called it “consumer fraud.” Hawaii County’s 2014 Resolution called it “inherently deceptive and misleading.”

It is also economically harmful to Origin coffee farmers. In 2018 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization concluded that these Hawaii Origin brands, like Kona: do “not enjoy any strong protection of its name” and that the result is “downstream stakeholders, rather than farmers, reap the economic benefits of the fame of Kona.’”

The opponents of this legislation are those “downstream stakeholders,” who the United Nations says “reap the economic benefits” of 10% blended coffee. They have testified that “no one can accurately predict” the economic effect of requiring Hawaii’s Origin coffee blends to contain 51% Kona, Ka’u, Hamakua, Maui or Kauai coffee. We can predict however, that Hawaii Origin coffee blends will no longer be deceptively marketed. We can also predict that 51% coffee blends will still be less expensive than 100%– only now their cost will be linked to the fair value of Hawaii’s Origin coffees.

We commend you and your colleagues representing constituencies throughout Hawaii for supporting this long overdue measure and urge your Committee to give it unanimous support.