Support for the building of a cacao processing facility

Testimony for HB1598 on 2/11/2011 9:00:00 AM
Testimony for AGR 2/11/2011 9:00:00 AM HB1598
Conference room: 312
Testifier position: support
Testifier will be present: No
Submitted by: Nathan Sato
Organization: Malie Kai Chocolates
Address: 60 N. Beretania St. #1908 Honolulu, HI 96817
Phone: (808) 599-8600

I would like to voice my support for the building of a cacao processing facility on the island of Oahu. I believe cacao has the potential to be a "game-changer" for both Hawaiian agriculture and Hawaiian tourism. We know from participation in domestic and international food shows that Hawaii is capable of producing WORLD-CLASS chocolate. This was the opinion of executives from very prestigious chocolate companies (including Godiva, Vosges and Valrhona) who tried our Oahu-grown chocolate. Very few agricultural products have the cache of chocolate. There are legions of chocolate aficionados who follow chocolate as closely as wine connoisseurs study vintages and appellations. I can easily see in a few years new tourists coming to Hawaii for the first time who have no interest Hawaii’s traditional leisure activities – visitors whose only interest is in seeing how chocolate is grown and made.

Why Your Chocolate Fix Is Costing More

The summer of 2010 saw cocoa prices shoot up, much to bears’ skepticism. They said there was no fundamental reason for the move: It was just a hedge fund manipulation.

On that notion, coca prices fell from a 33-year high at over $3,400 a metric ton down to about $2,600 in September. But the bearish view proved wrong in the end.

Any intelligent observer can see the big problems brewing in the Ivory Coast. Accounting for 40% of global supplies, the country is the world’s largest coca bean producer.

That key chocolate ingredient factors in heavily to the Ivorian economy. Cocoa is its biggest source of revenue, with sweet bean sales valued at $45 billion annually.

But the country’s cocoa trees have long-term problems, not to mention major political problems. And the latter has pushed coca prices back up above $3,300 once again.

Never Mix Chocolate and Politics… at Least not in the Ivory Coast

On November 28, 2010, the Ivory Coast elected a new leader, Alassane Ouattara. But while the United Nations certifies that victory, sitting president Laurent Gbagbo refuses to leave … and he has the full support of the military.

Countries around the globe are imposing sanctions on the Ivory Coast, but Ouattara has taken that idea a step further. He has called for a 1-month ban on cocoa exports and most other nations – including the U.S. – have signed onboard.

“Grown on Maui” Agriculture Tour: Connecting People to Their Food

“Grown on Maui” Agriculture Tour: Connecting People to Their Food

Guided tour meets at Whole Foods and begins with continental breakfast. First, tour Hali’imaile Pineapple Company, then enjoy a gourmet lunch at O’o Farm, followed by lavender chocolate gelato and a tour of Ali’I Kula Lavender Farm. Returns to Whole Foods at 3:00pm. Developed by Hawaii AgriTourism Association and Akina Aloha Tours. Destinations are subject to change, but will always feature locally-grown produce.

Phone: Akina Aloha Tours 808-879-2828

Cost: $130

“Grown on Maui” Agriculture Tour: Connecting People to Their Food

A One of a Kind Experience: The Grown on Maui Bus Tour

This tour will start at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus Culinary Academy for a “Behind the Scenes Tour” of the State of the Art facility and continental breakfast of locally sourced products. Once you’ve satisfied your appetite the tour will continue to the Hali’imaile Pineapple Company, where the staff shares a brief history of growing pineapple on Maui and how their farming operations has evolved today. See how pineapple is grown and learn the interesting facts about choosing the sweetest pineapple in the supermarket.

Then it’s off to lunch at the O’o farm, where a plethora of different crops are grown. Providing a unique culinary experience of using the freshest farm ingredients, prepared in creative ways that bring forth all the delicious flavors nature has to offer. After lunch, it’s on to Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, where the tour starts on a sweet note of creamy Lavender Chocolate Gelato. Take the first and only Lavender walking tour and discover the “Language of Flowers”. Buy a Lavender Scone for the road and find out why these scones are so famous!

Tour Highlights

* Breakfast and Behind the Scenes tour of University of Hawaii Maui campus.
* Pineapple tour and tasting at Hali’imaile Pineapple Tours
* Gourmet Lunch and Tour at O’o Organic Farm
* Ali’I Kula Lavender Walking Tour and Dessert

**Advanced Reservations are required! Call 808-891-4604. Click here for more information.

A One of a Kind Experience: The Grown on Maui Bus Tour « AKL Maui

Sequencing of cacao genome will help US chocolate industry, subsistence farmers – ScienceNewsline

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their partners have announced the preliminary release of the sequenced genome of the cacao tree, an achievement that will help sustain the supply of high-quality cocoa to the $17 billion U.S. chocolate industry and protect the livelihoods of small farmers around the world by speeding up development, through traditional breeding techniques, of trees better equipped to resist the droughts, diseases and pests that threaten this vital agricultural crop.

The effort is the result of a partnership between USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS); Mars, Inc., of McLean, Va., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chocolate-related products; scientists at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown , N.Y.; and researchers from the Clemson University Genomics Institute, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Washington State University, Indiana University, the National Center for Genome Resources, and PIPRA (Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture) at the University of California-Davis.

Team leaders from USDA included molecular biologist David Kuhn and geneticist Raymond Schnell, both at the ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research Station in Miami, Fla., and ARS computational biologist Brian Scheffler at the Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center in Stoneville, Miss. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of USDA. This research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security, and USDA’s commitment to agricultural sustainability.

Chocolate hopes to sweeten up Hawaii agriculture industry – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

By Duane Shimogawa

WAIALUA (HawaiiNewsNow) – As the state’s agriculture industry goes through some sour times, a relatively new crop is hoping to sweeten things up. Sugar and pineapple were once the staple crops of Hawaii’s plantation era, but with these industries practically extinct, Hawaii’s ag lands are now returning to a new era of small farms.

An exciting new crop may be the sweet savior to Hawaii’s lagging ag industry. State ag leaders say they aren’t just looking to one crop to replace both sugar and pineapple.

Instead, they’re hoping a variety of crops, including another sweet tasting one will take the lead and help the state’s ag industry grow to new heights.

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. where chocolate can grow. That’s because it only flourishes in areas close to the equator. So it made sense for Dole Foods to try it out.