Hawaii agriculture program awards funds to 6 proposals

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Six proposals were awarded funds through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s (HDOA) Grow Hawaii Agriculture Initiative 2021 on Wednesday, June 16.

The Initiative is “aimed at assisting established local agricultural enterprises to quickly scale up production and increasing the state’s gross domestic product,” according to HDOA officials.

The funds totaled $1.5 million, or $250,000 for each of the six companies.

“The program was impressed with the quality of the 45 proposals it received from diverse agricultural businesses. 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 Hawaii-grown commodities.”

Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, Hawaii Board of Agriculture chairperson

The companies listed below were each awarded $250,000 for proposed activities:

  • Agrefab LLC, Oahu: Expand farm operations and scale up agricultural drying and juicing facility. Commodities: turmeric, passion fruit, ginger, moringa, breadfruit, avocado, taro, mamaki, cassava, coffee cherry.
  • Hawaiian Golden Farm, Oahu & Kauai: Expand acreage and automate farming operations. Create new value-added products for local consumption and domestic and international export. Commodities: Okinawan sweet potato, ginger, herbs, papaya.
  • Kawamata Farms, LLC, Hawaii: Expansion of hydroponic greenhouse operation to produce premium ripened on-the-vine Roma tomatoes for local markets
  • Mālama Kaua‘i, Kauai: Expand the Moloaʻa ‘ĀINA Center food hub to provide processing facilities, technical assistance programming and expanded aggregation/distribution services for over 100 Kauai farmers, ranchers and food producers. Expand value-added production for commodities grown on Kauai.
  • SK Natural Farms, LLC, Oahu: Establish a small animal harvest unit for hog farmers to address supply chain bottlenecks and increase local pork production.
  • Zhao Produce Inc., Oahu: Expansion of Thai and Italian basil production and creation of value-added products for export to U.S. Mainland and Canada markets.

The awards were given based on agricultural operations demonstrating business success and being in need of urgent funding to expand their commercial production. Criteria for the awards also included the establishment of a business model that effectively contributes to the growth of agriculture in Hawaii.

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