Categorized | Agriculture

KCFA defends product in wake of federal lawsuit


The Kona Coffee Farmers Association (KFCA) is urging coffee buying customers not to associate the good name of 100% Kona Coffee with the charges of abuse of Thai workers that have been brought against the Captain Cook Coffee Company, among others.

Although the Captain Cook Coffee Company is based in Kona, it is not a member of the KCFA.

KCFA members expressed immediate support of farm workers wherever they hail from. Indeed, the Kona coffee crop would not make it out of the fields if not for the migrant workers who come during the picking season, and most farms have the same workers come back year after year, evidence of a happy and collaborative relationship.

The federal lawsuit, made public last week in Los Angeles by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accuses Global Horizons Manpower Inc, and eight farms in Hawaii and the mainland of violating the Civil Rights Act, with abuses including confiscations of passports, no pay, dirty and cramped living conditions, and imprisonment on the farms.

The government alleges the farms not only ignored abuses, including screaming, threats and physical assaults by their supervisors, but participated in the “obvious mistreatment, intimidation, harassment, and unequal pay of the Thai workers.”

Bruce Corker, KCFA legislative chairman, said, “While these accusations have yet to be proved, the KCFA assures customers that 100% Kona coffee is produced under fair trade and humanitarian work place standards. One bad apple should not be allowed to taint Kona’s good name.”

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association is a volunteer, non-profit, community-based organization of coffee farmers with the mission to promote and protect the economic interests of Kona coffee farmers who grow and sell 100% Kona coffee and to seek greater legal protection of the Kona coffee name.

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