As Hawaii’s agricultural industry continues to decline, a sub-industry is growing in size and work force.
The state’s seed crop industry hit $146 million in value for the 2007-2008 season, surpassing pineapple and sugar, crops that were once Hawaii’s agricultural staples.
The seed crop industry’s value has grown at an average annual rate of 33 percent over the past five years. It makes up about 30 percent of the total value of all crops produced in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.
The trade group commissioned a study earlier this month to gauge the economic impact of Hawaii’s seed crop industry. The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation performed the study using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The research objective of this study is to update our 2006 study of the Hawaii seed crop industry’s economic and fiscal contributions to the State of Hawaii. To this end we have provided:
• Background information about the technology used by the industry locally and internationally,
• Details of Hawaii’s seed crop industry with comparisons to other Hawaii sectors and subsectors,
• The economic contributions of the seed crop industry.
Our primary research conclusion is that Hawaii’s seed crop industry makes significant ever increasing economic and fiscal contributions to the state’s economy generally, and most particularly simultaneous contributions to the agriculture, life sciences and high technology subsectors. In so doing, the Hawaii seed crop industry generates various positive externalities to the state, the value of which has not been assessed in this study. Seed crop industry economic contributions to the state should continue to increase given anticipated industry investments in Hawaii, which will assist achievement not only of economic policy objectives but other objectives as well, the various positive side effects of this industry operating in Hawaii.
Hawai’i’s fast-growing seed crop industry forecasts spending $276 million over the next 10 years, up from $164 million in the past 10 years, suggesting the state’s biggest farming sector expects continued expansion.