Storm Felicia Menaces Hawaii Sugar, Coffee Areas
New York, Aug 10 – Tropical storm Felicia is churning toward the Hawaiian islands on Monday and may threaten the sugar and coffee farms in the area.
The National Weather Service said in a statement that Maui, one of two areas growing sugar in the state, faces the threat of heavy rains and floods.
The other sugar growing area on Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii may also be targeted by Felicia.
The Big Island is the only producer of Kona coffee prized by the specialty coffee market and connoisseurs around the world.
According to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s monthly supply/demand report, Hawaii is seen producing 160,000 short tons of sugar in 2009/10, down from last season’s 200,000 short tons.
Sugar industry analysts said any downfall in Hawaii’s output as a result of storms would come at a time when the United States would need to import sugar in the spring of 2010 to meet a domestic shortfall.
There are about 600 Kona coffee farms in Hawaii that produces about 2.0 to 3.0 million pounds of coffee per season.