State Funding Awarded to 2 Local Ag Businesses to Allow for Operation Expansion
The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has awarded funds to six proposals totaling $1.5 million under the Grow Hawai‘i Agriculture Initiative 2021, two of which went to Kaua‘i businesses.
The HDOA initiative is a program aimed at assisting established local agricultural enterprises to quickly scale up production and increase the state’s gross domestic product. Of the 45 proposals reviewed for funding, Mālama Kaua‘i and Hawaiian Golden Farm were among the six recipients.
Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture, said they were impressed with the quality of all proposals received. Each company was awarded $250,000.
“The proposals were awarded to businesses with proven track records of success and that have demonstrated the ability to significantly increase agricultural production and expand markets for Hawai`i-grown commodities,” Shimabukuro-Geiser said.
Mālama Kaua‘i plans to use funds to expand the Moloaʻa ‘ĀINA Center food hub to provide processing facilities, technical assistance programming and expand aggregation/distribution services for over 100 Kauaʻi farmers, ranchers and food producers. The money will also allow for the expansion of value-added production for commodities grown on Kaua‘i.
Hawaiian Golden Farm plans to expand acreage and automate farming operations. The business will create new value-added products for local consumption and domestic and international export. Commodities include Okinawan sweet potato, ginger, herbs and papaya.
Consideration for the awards was based on agricultural operations that have demonstrated business success and were in need of urgent funding to expand their commercial production and that have established business models that can effectively contribute to the growth of agriculture in the state.
This initiative is a collaboration with the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Funds for this program were provided by the Hawai`i State Legislature in 2020.