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New fungicide approved for use in Hawaii’s battle against coffee leaf rust

Coffee leaf rust has been detected in Hawaii for the first time.
Coffee leaf rust has been detected in Hawaii for the first time.(Hawaii Coffee Growers)
Published: May. 20, 2021 at 7:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Environmental Protection Agency says it’s okay for coffee growers to use a specific fungicide to prevent the growth of the coffee leaf rust pathogen.

Priaxor Xemium is not labeled for use on coffee plants, but is used on other crops including soybeans, tomatoes and other leafy vegetables.

The EPA gave the green light for use on Wednesday in hopes that it will halt the devastating disease that’s threatening coffee crops on several islands.

“Hawaii coffee growers now have an added method to combat the coffee leaf rust which is extremely difficult to manage,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “Other efforts to minimize the damage and spread of coffee leaf rust include quarantines on the movement of coffee plants and associated material, the import of disease-resistant coffee plants and the development of integrated pest management strategies.”

[Read a previous report: Hawaii farmers seek solution to combat potentially devastating coffee leaf rust]

The leaf rust was detected in Hawaii in October 2020. Since then, the state has invested many resources to protecting Hawaii’s $56-million coffee industry.

Farmers had the opportunity to take part in informational webinars about the fungicide hosted by the University of Hawai`i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. For more information, click here.

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