On January 6th, 2016 Alexander & Baldwin announced the closure of sugar operations on Maui. More than 650 Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. employees will lose their jobs, and residents will be left with uncertainty about the future of the plantation's 36,000 acres. A&B has announced plans to transition to a diversified agribusiness model.
Now more than ever, we urge the decision makers of Hawai'i to approve Industrial Hemp production in Hawaii. Test crops at UH have proven successful and promising. Initial findings from the project indicate that the tropical fiber hemp is flourishing and has grown over 10 feet tall during its crop cycle of 15 weeks. The tropical seed hemp is much shorter, but is heavily producing seed. Hemp is a crop that will keep our agricultural land in active production, yields high profit margins, provide hundreds of job oppurtunities, and provide a product for entrepreneurs. In U.S. alone, the market for hemp seed oil and fiber is approximately $600 million a year. With your support, Maui can create a food and energy self-sufficiency model for Hawai'i, preserve productive agricultural lands, and establish new economic engines for Maui and the State of Hawaii.
We urge you to approve Industrial Hemp production this legislative session. With over 650 jobs at risk, time is of the essence.