Big Island on course for record coffee season

Hawaii coffee revenues are estimated to hit a record-high $37.3 million this season, thanks largely to Big Island growers and unusually high rainfall. This according to the latest numbers out of the Hawaii Field Office for the National Agricultural Statistics Service. If realized, the projections would represent an increase of 88 percent over 2004-’05, and surpass the all-time record of $28.2 million set in 1997-’98. According to the latest Hawaii coffee report, isle coffee production jumped 46 percent over last season, the resulting 8.2 million pounds of coffee selling for record-high farm prices of $4.55 per pound. Most of the increase and most of the total harvest came from Hawaii County, where several months of above-normal rainfall totals and increases in acreage devoted to coffee yielded 5.8 million pounds — an 81 percent increase on the Big Island alone. Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai counties contributed 2.4 million pounds. Buyers still place a premium on Big Island and Kona coffees: while growers on other islands received an average of $2.61 per pound, the price hit $4.55 in Hawaii County, with “green certified Kona coffee” going for $10.25 per pound. This season’s harvest is actually expected to be 5 percent smaller than the last. Worldwide, coffee production is up nearly 10 percent, particularly in Brazil, Vietnam, and Peru.

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