Industry fights for inspectors –


Agricultural groups fear state layoffs will backlog shipments

By Erika Engle

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 08, 2009

Agricultural industry executives worry that Hawaii businesses will wither on the vine and incoming food will rot on the docks if the state goes through with massive layoffs of agriculture inspectors.

Plans call for laying off 50 of the state’s 78 agriculture inspectors, 64 percent of that specialized work force.

Diminished inspection capacity could also cost hundreds of millions of dollars each year if additional invasive species get established, industry officials say.

State inspectors both certify products to be exported out of Hawaii and inspect food and plants being imported into the state.

Council ponders use of ‘polluted’ wells for backup – The Maui News


WAILUKU – Three years after it banned using water from the Hamakuapoko Wells for human consumption, the Maui County Council is considering tapping the wells for emergencies.

The wells are contaminated with pesticides, but county water and state health officials have said treatment removes the chemicals to undetectable levels and makes the water safe to drink. Water Director Jeff Eng said Tuesday that if the council allowed the wells to be used as a backup during times of drought or other emergencies, it would allow the county to issue several hundred water meters from the Pookela Wells to residents who have been waiting for water Upcountry.

The People’s Dialectic – Development and Local Awareness

August 30th, 2009 by peoplesdialectic

I’ve always been impressed with the quality of events Kanu Hawaii puts on to help the community and raise awareness about important issues.

The Eat Local Challenge is no exception. In fact, it strikes at the heart of possibly one of the most immediate and important questions for our islands. Eating local is beneficial on both an economic and environmental level. And the light the Challenge shines on food channels couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin featured on Wednesday, August 12, an article discussing plans to develop 1,500 acres of some of ‘the best ag land’ on Oahu for a 12,000 home community. The loss of this prime agricultural land to tract housing, shopping centers, and business parks will be a significant loss of our ability to grow food for ourselves.

There was a day when the economy of our islands didn’t depend on visitors from around the world. While no one suggests we return to the plantation culture, we do need to diversify our economy away from tourism. With a revenue stream that is so fundamentally tied to the vacation plans of people around the world, Hawaii is particularly vulnerable to economic hard times and recessions. We can no longer afford to depend so heavily on the disposable income of others. Hawaii must once again become self-sufficient.

Oahu gobbles resources as other isles make do – Columnists –

By Cynthia Oi

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 30, 2009

Maggie Cox makes a good point. If public libraries on rural islands are to be closed to save the state some money, it’s only fair that libraries on Oahu share the pain.

Cox represents Kauai on the Board of Education and though none of the libraries at the top of the list for shuttering are on the Garden Island, Cox speaks in defense of the stepchildren of the state.

They are the Cinderella regions of Hawaii, exploited for the natural beauty they have largely retained while most of Oahu has been so disfigured it is no longer eligible for the tourism image of unspoiled paradise.

They are expected to do the heavy lifting for undesirable projects like prisons and military training grounds, but stand at the back of the line for the good stuff like technologically top-grade schools and medical facilities. – Managing uncertainty

IAL meeting creates more questions than answers

By Lois Ann Ell – Special to The Garden Island

Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 2:11 AM HST

KAPA‘A — What began as an informational meeting about the designation of important agricultural lands turned into a heated discussion about Kaua‘i’s agricultural future.

Dr. Karl Kim, a professor at the UH Department of Urban and Regional Planning, presented a slide show of the Koloa-Po‘ipu pilot agricultural lands study he and his colleagues conducted for the Land Use Commission. He was the guest speaker at the monthly Wailua-Kapa’a Neighborhood Association meeting Monday night at the Kapa’a Library.

Stevia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The genus Stevia consists of 240 species of plants native to South America, Central America, and Mexico, with several species found as far north as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.Human use of the sweet species S. rebaudiana originated in South America. The leaves of the stevia plant have 30–45 times the sweetness of sucrose (ordinary table sugar). The leaves can be eaten fresh, or put in teas and foods.

Court Rules Against Molokai Properties, Ltd. In Utilities Dispute | The Molokai Dispatch


Friday 8-14-09

MPL is held legally responsible for the actions of its utilities.

County of Maui Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 13, 2009

The First Circuit Court ruled on July 15, 2009 that Molokai Properties, Ltd. (MPL) is legally responsible for the actions of the Molokai utility companies whose stock MPL owns. The appeal arose out of MPL’s threat last year to shut down water and wastewater utilities providing service to some 1,200 Molokai residents.

CALAVO fails marketing goals

Calavo Growers (CVGW) has been added to the Hawaii Agriculture Blog “Hawaii Agriculture and Related Stocks Annual Charts” page to show the contrast of their lack of success in marketing fresh pineapple in California with the success of their stock performance.

Calavo Chairman, President and CEO Lee E. Cole on the favorable implications of the sales marketing and distribution agreement of Maui Gold Pineapple for Calavo

First, we anticipate that sales of Maui Gold fresh pineapples will contribute $25-30 million in revenues to Calavo’s top line in fiscal 2008, as well as become immediately accretive to earnings.

As opposed to Maui Land and Pineapple Company’s Inc (MLP) filed Quarterly Report (10-Q) for the period ended 2009-06-30.

Revenues for the Agriculture segment decreased by 14%, or $749,000, from $5.3 million for the second quarter of 2008 to $4.5 million for the second quarter of 2009, primarily due to a reduction in pineapple juice sales volume and lower average prices for fresh pineapple. Pineapple juice sales represented approximately 5% of the Agriculture segment revenues in the second quarter of 2009 compared to approximately 13% of Agriculture segment revenues in the second quarter of 2008. The Agriculture segment reported an operating loss of $5.0 million for the second quarter of 2009 compared to an operating loss of $4.6 million for the second quarter of 2008. The operating loss for the second quarter of 2009 includes a charge of $1.9 million representing an adjustment to the fair value less selling costs of our property in Kahului that includes our fresh fruit processing plant. The Kahului property is currently held for sale.

Monsanto and Dow Create Super Corn (DOW, MON)

By Brian Orelli

Sometimes you need a little help from a friend — even if that friend is also a competitor.

Monsanto (NYSE: MON) and Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) certainly couldn’t have developed a seed with such blockbuster potential so quickly without each others’ help. The two announced yesterday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had completed the authorization process for their SmartStax seed, which combines eight different traits into one corn seed.

The eight combined traits will increase yields by 2% to 4% compared to the triple-stacked standard, but the biggest advantage to farmers will come from changes by the government.

Farmers are required to plant a certain percent of their acreage with seeds that don’t have insect resistance — it’s called a refuge, but "sacrificial lamb" might be more appropriate. The point of the refuge is to avoid selecting for insects that are resistant to the trait. Since SmartStax contains multiple disease-resistant traits, it’s less likely that insects will become resistant, so farmers will be able to decrease the required refuge from 20% to 5% in the corn belt and from 50% to 20% in the cotton belt. Increasing the acreage planted with higher-yielding disease-resistant corn should boost the farm’s yield by an additional 3% to 6%, for a total potential increase of 5% to 10%.

Monsanto and Dow will market the seed under their own brand names and pay royalties to each other for the shared traits. The friendly competition should make for an interesting rivalry, but in any case the new seed, which should launch next year, should compete well against rivals Syngenta (NYSE: SYT) and DuPont (NYSE: DD). In fact, the companies are planning to make it the largest biotech corn seed launch ever.

Who knows — maybe they’ll send the first ears to Joe Cocker.

Monsanto and Dow Create Super Corn (DOW, MON)