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Hot Coffee: Agriculture Theft on Hawaii Island

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Agriculture theft has been a problem on Hawaii Island for decades.  From a South Kona farmer whose coffee beans have repeatedly been stolen off her trees to the recently created position of County Agriculture Crimes Investigator, this series explores the people impacted by agriculture theft across Hawaii Island. 

Credit Wikimedia Commons

South Kona Farmers Targeted for Theft

A mother and daughter duo who run a coffee farm in South Kona has fallen victim to of a string of recent thefts. Hundreds of pounds of raw coffee, worth thousands of dollars, has been taken straight from their trees under cover of darkness. 

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Kona's History of Coffee Theft

Coffee theft has been happening along the Kona Coast since the 1980's, but the problem looks much different today than it did in the 1980's. A long-time coffee grower and processor explains how coffee crime has evolved over the past 40 years and how the economics of the coffee business drive some to steal.

Roger Kaiwi

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Prosecuting Agricultural Theft

Coffee, lychee, avocado, and rambutan are just a few of the crops commonly stolen from farmers on Hawaii Island. But catching the thieves can be extremely difficult and prosecuting them is even harder. That is why the County and State have implemented control measures to try and catch pushers of so-called "hot coffee." 

Mitch Roth & Shane Muramaru

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