Tropical Storm Iselle hit Hawaii island hard. It devastated papaya farms in Pahoa as the fruit-laden, top-heavy trees were no match for the storm’s intense winds.
HILO >> Hawaii island farmers are assessing damage to crops after Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall last weekend.
“It was pretty clear to us that the papaya farmers took the highest amount of damage,” Richard Ha, president of the Hamakua Springs Country Farms, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “Estimation of the sales lost, plus the startup, the bulldozing costs and growing up to that first year, when they’re ready to harvest again is about $53 million,” he said.
“People have been flying overhead to look over the damage with helicopters. The damage is devastating. Some folks have about 80 percent damage. Some folks’ farms had less, of course, but the damage is extremely high,” Ha said.
State and federal agriculture officials spoke with local farmers Monday, he said.