HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER
/ September 18, 2016 /
By Randy Cabral
While Hawaii’s farmers and ranchers welcome Gov. David Ige’s new emphasis on agriculture, evidenced by his call to double local food production by 2030, it’s important to be realistic.
First, we need to focus on what we do best. While we can produce more tropical fruit, taro, beef, fish, breadfruit and vegetables, we can’t meet all our food needs. The islands simply cannot compete with producers who enjoy lower production costs and greater efficiency of scale.
One of the biggest challenges we face is labor. Like agriculture the world over, we’re experiencing a shortage of workers, and island food crop production isn’t easily mechanized. Our farmers are aging, and there aren’t a lot of young people coming in to take over. The desire may be there, but the capital investment required is not.
Though we hear a lot of talk about farming, it’s not translating into committed bodies on the land. Instead, we hear romanticized ideas about how we should be farming that don’t match the reality of food production in the islands.
Visit: http://www.staradvertiser.com/2016/09/18/editorial/hawaiis-food-insecurity-hawaii-farm-bureau-cites-land-needs-dubious-policies/ to read the full article.