Crop Block Grant Program accepting applications

West Hawaii Today

The state Department of Agriculture Market Development Branch is now accepting grant proposals under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) for fiscal year 2021. This block grant program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture is administered through the state and aims to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional farmers and producers. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery (floriculture) crops.

The grant program is open to nonprofit organizations, local, state, and federal government entities, for-profit organizations, universities and individuals for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. To be eligible to participate, applicants must reside in or their business or educational affiliation must be registered in Hawaii.

To be eligible for a grant, projects must enhance the competitiveness of Hawaii-grown specialty crops in either the domestic or foreign markets. Preference will be given to projects that measurably increase the production and/or consumption of specialty crops, foster the development of fledging crops and organic operations for Hawaii specialty crop farmers.

Proposals in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 per project will be considered with higher amounts considered for projects with extraordinary statewide benefit or exceptional merit and benefit to the specialty crop industry. Projects shall be completed within 24 months. Matching funds, either in-kind or cash, are not required, however, applicants are encouraged to provide evidence of matching funds, either in-kind or cash, which will be calculated into the scoring criteria. Letters of support from project partners and supporters describing their commitment as a partner or their level of support are encouraged.

The closing date for proposals is noon Feb. 12. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit https://hands.ehawaii.gov/hands.

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