HAWAI`I COUNTY’S PROPOSED BILL to ban genetically modified organisms “bans us from helping ourselves,” says Richard Ha in Civil Beat. Ha owns Hamakua Springs Country Farms and also promotes geothermal energy.
“Biotech solutions generally lower costs,” Ha says. “They can help increase production, whether it’s with university-developed solutions that help plants resist diseases and pests, or biotech solutions that allow plants to manufacture their own nitrogen so we don’t have to import fertilizer (which requires electricity to produce and oil to get to Hawai`i).
“Then we will be able to rely on natural sunlight for our primary energy, which gives us a tremendous, and not common, advantage - we can grow crops here all year around. Insects, pests and weeds grow all year around, too, though, and biotech can safely help us with those problems so we will become even more sustainable and competitive.”
According to Ha, using appropriate biotech solutions, along with geothermal energy, “can give us a huge advantage over the rest of the world, and make life better for us here at home, but we don’t have much time. We have to let science and technology prevail so we can move forward, not stagnate nor fall behind, and we have to get on this now.
“There is some unwarranted fear about using biotechnology, but know that all the major scientific organizations in the world say foods created with biotechnology are as safe as those created otherwise,” Ha writes.
Hawai`i County Council reconvenes tomorrow to continue its discussion of Bill 113, which bans genetically modified organisms on Hawai`i Island, with some exemptions. The public hearing begins at 9 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona.
Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.
See more at civilbeat.com.
|Ka`u CDP's draft Appendix V4C: Local Economic Development Analysis covers|
Ka`u's agricultural resources.
RECENTLY RELEASED DRAFT DOCUMENTS for Ka`u Community Development Plan discuss various sectors of the local economy. One of the sectors is agriculture, and the documents say Ka`u has a solid base from which the agricultural industry will continue to grow moving forward. Appendix V4C: Local Economic Development Analysis breaks ag production into categories:
- “Coffee: With more than 500 acres in production, Ka`u’s coffee cottage industry is growing and increasingly being recognized as one of the best coffees internationally.
- Macadamia Nuts: With more than 5,000 acres in production, Ka`u is already one of the largest macadamia nut producers and processors in the state.
- Truck Crops: With more than five percent of the island’s truck crop production occurring in Ka`u, there’s great potential for added growth in this sub-sector, particularly with increased spending by residents on locally produced vegetables.
- Ranching: With the growing market for local, grass-fed beef, the cattle industry is likely to continue playing an important role in Ka`u.
- Forestry: Kamehameha School has dedicated most of their former cane lands in the Pahala area to the production of roughly 3,000 acres of commercial eucalyptus forestry.
“These potential growth areas for agriculture are also supported by the growth in agricultural tourism and the farmers markets and community and school gardens that raise awareness and educate the general public about the need to support locally produced food.
“However, for expansion to occur, especially for small farming operations, the following challenges will need to be addressed:
- Infrastructure – access to water, affordable lands, and processing and production facilities;
- Input Costs – access to reliable labor and affordable energy;
- Capital & Technical Support – access to capital, marketing, distribution, and research and development support systems.”
Appendix V4C is available to read at area libraries and community centers and online at kaucdp.info. The public can submit testimony through Dec. 16 using a feedback form at kaucdp.info.
|Bridget and dad Lee Segawa, of Ka`u Coffee Mill farm,|
help prepare for tea cuttings to be grown in Ka`u and
the Volcano area. Photo by Julia Neal
READY FOR TEA? Volunteers prepared thousands of planting tubes for tea cuttings yesterday to support tea plantations at Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, Pahala Plantation Cottages, Segawa family farms and farms associated with Center For Hawaiian Music Studies. The effort, led by Eva Lee, of Volcano, places tea cuttings in a mist nursery at Ka`u Coffee Mill through a program sponsored by U.S. Department of Agriculture and The Kohala Center. It will take eight months to about a year for the tea to be ready to go into the ground. In Ka`u, other tea planting nurseries are being established at Ocean View and Wai`ohinu. The tea is the traditional type that is popular for drinking around the world made from cultivars of Camellia sinensis, which produces white, green oolong and black tea.
See more on Eva Lee at teahawaii.com.
KA`U HOSPITAL'S COMMUNITY STEERING COMMITTEE to help plan the future of health care in Ka`u meets Wednesday at noon at Pahala Community Center. Steering committee members solicit ideas from Ka`u residents to help with development of the plan. Steering committee members who can be contacted by the public include Jessie Marques, of Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc.; Ursula D’Angelo, Yisrael Gorali and Donna Masaniai, of the hospital’s charitable foundation; Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School principal Sharon Beck; Gregg Kishaba, of the state Department of Health; Iwao Yonemitsu, retired sugar company supervisor; Ron Ebert, a pastor and member of `O Ka`u Kakou; and Julie Pasquale, of the nutrition program at Pahala Senior Center.
The assessment and planning for the future of the hospital will stem “from the community’s perspective as to health care needs and from analysis of data and information from the public health department, other data sources, survey results and an economic impact study,” according to a presentation by state Primary Care department facilitators R. Scott Daniels and Gregg Kishaba during last month’s meeting.
TODAY IS THE DEADLINE FOR DONATIONS of goods to be shipped free to Philippines typhoon disaster victims. Canned goods, toothpaste, soaps and other items will be taken to Hilo tonight for shipment. Monetary donations will be accepted on an ongoing basis at R&G store in Pahala and Will & Grace store in Na`alehu. Those who want to help can also donate online through the American Red Cross.
THE ANNUAL THANKSGIVING RUBBER BAND TURKEY SHOOT takes place Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. All ages are welcome. Call Nona at 928-3102.
VOCALIST AND MUSICIAN DARLENE AHUNA performs Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Ahuna is best known for her falsetto renditions of traditional Hawaiian, hula and hapa-haole standards. Bestowed with numerous Na Hoku Hanohano awards for her vocals, Ahuna is a mainstay at the Merrie Monarch Festival and has represented the island of Hawai`i while entrancing audiences in Japan and across the U.S. mainland. Part of Hawai`i Volcanoes’ ongoing Na Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” series. Free; park entrance fees apply.
KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT holds its next meeting at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office Thursday at 4 p.m. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.
SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.