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Sunday, February 06, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022

Miloli'i Canoe Club is back in action with practices starting this Tuesday. Its quiver of canoes includes the historic koa canoe,
 the Malolo, shown here. Photo from Miloli'i Canoe Club

MILOLI'I CANOE CLUB RELAUNCHED on Saturday, when more than 30 new and returning paddlers gathered near shore of the remote fishing village to sign up for the 2022 paddling season. The last competitive paddling events were held in 2019, before the pandemic shut down races statewide.
    President of Miloli'i Canoe Club, Elroy Reyes, was born and raised in Miloliʻi and was one of the founding members of the club when it reorganized in 2015, with help from Pa'a Pono Miloli'i. Reyes said the 2015 relaunch came after 81 years of no involvement in statewide canoe racing.
Saturday was registration day for the 2022 paddling
season. Photo from Miloli'i Canoe Club
    However, many Miloli'i villagers kept up their physical strength over the decades through paddling their own personal 'opelu canoes, often on a daily basis, to fish for 'opelu to feed their families and community. Hoe wa'a (canoe paddling) remains a longtime tradition for the families of the fishing village of Miloli'i. 
    The Miloli'i Canoe Club has carried this strength forward by doing well in the statewide paddling seasons before the pandemic. Many of the paddlers who signed up for the new season on Saturday have lineage to generations of kupuna of the village who paddled canoe.
    One of the sacred members of the Miloli'i Canoe Club is the Malolo, a 40-foot koa wood waʻa (canoe). Reyes said the Malolo may be the oldest canoe in the state of Hawaiʻi. His great grandfather, Kekumu Kawaauhau, built it in 1928. In 1954, the Malolo won the Molokaʻi Channel Race in record-breaking time. 
Miloli'i Canoe Club President Elroy Reyes, left, with the Malolo, a koa
 canoe built in 1928 by his great grandfather, Kekumu Kawaauhau.
Photo by Katie Graham
   The Malolo has a sister waʻa, Naiʻa, who is housed by the paddlers of Hui Waa O Waiakea in Hilo. "They are twins, carved from the same koa log. Malolo is the brother and Naiʻa is the sister," said Reyes.  The Malolo was restored in 2015 by Bill Rosehill. 
    Reyes said, "My job is to be the steward of the canoe," which continues to be a central part of the Miloliʻi Canoe Club. 
    To register and learn more about the club, email miloliicc@gmail.com. Adults and keiki ages 8 and up are welcome for membership. Current County pandemic guidelines will be followed for outdoor gatherings and practice.
    Those who would like to support the Miloliʻi Canoe Club, can consider a monetary donation. More details on donating can be found at paaponomilolii.org/projects/milolii-canoe-club.
Miloli'i Canoe Club paddlers celebrated a victory, one of many achievements before the pandemic. They start practice on Tuesday for the 2022 season. Photo from Pa`a Pono Miloli'i
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See February events and Kaʻū Calendar newspaper sponsors at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/02/events-of-february-2022.html

KA`U COFFEE FARMERS GRAB LAND - AND CONTROL OF THEIR FUTURES is the headline of a Honolulu Civil Beat article published during the past week. It is written by Civil Beat agriculture writer Thomas Heaton from New Zealand, who was on the ground recently in Kaʻū to talk with food, tea and coffee farmers, ranchers and other community members for a series of stories.
   The Kaʻū Coffee story notes that among the coffee growers, "Many are former sugarcane plantation workers who, when their employer went bust, started one of the most renowned coffee regions of the world."
    The story reports the coffee lands are being sold by Resource Land Holdings, which less than six years ago, paid $1,666.66 an acre for a 6,000 acre, $10 million purchase in Kaʻū. The coffee lands are about 300 acres within the large tracts of ranch and coastal lands, forested hillsides and gulches that Resource Land Holdings purchased. The coffee farms were started under licensing to growers by the former sugar plantation that shut down and later sold the lands.
Delvin Navarro, right, with his Ka'u Coffee being photographed for a 2019 cover story in Japan Airlines magazine, plans
 to purchase his farm. He talked to Civil Beat for its story published this past week on the sale of Ka'u Coffee farms.
See https://www.civilbeat.org/2022/02/kau-coffee-farmers-grab-land-and-control-of-their-futures/
Photo by Julia Neal

  The Civil Beat story reports RLH's subsidiary Kaʻū Mahi's representative Jim McCully saying the coffee farms have been valued, for sale to the farmers, between $12,000 to $21,000 an acre. 
    Using those prices, that means that the approximately 300 acres of coffee lands owned by RLH at the Pear Tree and Moa'ula coffee farms, selling for an average of $17,000 an acre, would provide the company with more than $5 million - more than half of the $10 million it paid for the entire 6,000 acres in 2016.
    Kaʻū Coffee farmers told The Kaʻū Calendar that the coffee lands are priced higher per acre than most of the other lands RLH has sold in Kaʻū because the coffee farms are smaller in acreage and the coffee trees increased the value, under the RLH model for selling them. Also the subdivision will allow houses on each property and the coffee trees will belong to the new owners.
     RLH expenses to hold the coffee lands have included its management of farmers renting it, the cost of subdividing the land, any financing it may have, and putting in paved roads to the some of the farms. 
    McCully told Civil Beat that when RLH bought the property, "it was still zoned in such a way it would have been classified as a 'luxury ag subdivision' which would have priced the farmers out entirely." The Civil Beat story reports McClully saying that "he worked with the Hawai'i County’s planning department to lower the prices and reclassify the lands as purely agricultural."
    The story says that dozens - nearly half the coffee farmers - are going for the purchase. Some told The Kaʻū Calendar they have no choice but to try to buy, as they fear other people will gobble up the properties. A few coffee growers are paying cash and others are going for low interest government and private loans. Some farmers said that they hope the loan payments will cost them only a little more than the rent they pay to Kaʻū Mahi for using the land.

Moa'ula is included in a Civil Beat story about Kaʻū Coffee lands being sold, with first option to farmers.
See https://www.civilbeat.org/2022/02/kau-coffee-farmers-grab-land-and-control-of-their-futures/
Photo by Julia Neal
    Some Kaʻū Coffee Growers Cooperative representatives told The Kaʻū Calendar that prices to the farmers might have been lower if Kaʻū Mahi offered the farmers "a first right of refusal," instead of "right of first offer," meaning that the market would have set the price rather than Kaʻū Mahi setting a take-it-or leave it price for the farmers with a deadline.
     Whether the properties would go fast to outsiders, given that there is no potable water and that most lots are tied up with licenses to rent the land to the existing farmers, is still to be seen, said the advisors. They also said that the risk of Coffee Leaf Rust, the devastating disease that has wiped out coffee in other regions, has come to Kaʻū and should be disclosed by the seller in any real estate negotiation for the coffee lands. According to some of the farmers applying for loans, most are waiting to find out if they are approved and the subdivision is in the final stages of being finalized.
     The Civil Beat story quotes Kaʻū Coffee Mill manager Lou Daniele, saying some farmers on Kaʻū Mahi lands are talking to him about leasing, but there is not enough land for everyone. A number of coffee farmers spread their risk by renting property on the Coffee Mill lands, owned by Olson Trust, years ago.
    Read the Civil Beat story with more quotes from the Kaʻū Mahi representative and coffee farmers Delvin Navarro and John Ah San. The story also quotes Chris Manfredi, a former Moa'ula and Pear Tree coffee land owners' representative, who is now a coffee broker, Hawai'i Coffee Association President, and an organizer of Kaʻū Coffee Festival.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See February events and Kaʻū Calendar newspaper sponsors at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/02/events-of-february-2022.html

LOCALICIOUS HAWAI'I ART & VIDEO CONTEST for students K-12 is open for submissions through Feb. 28. Sponsored by the Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation, the competition is entitled Producing More than Produce. It is presented by Hawai'i 
Students are invited to submit entries of original artwork or video to support Hawai'i's agricultural industry. "The contest challenges students to use their creativity to showcase the importance of our local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to our community," says the call for submissions.

Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation's 2020-2021 Overall Art Winner, Aileen Kang's Hawaiian Poke Bowl
    New this year, the contest incorporates video content and extends the opportunity to secondary students. Art and videos are judged separately. The art contest is open to students in grades K-5, with poster entries incorporating the theme: Hawai'i Agriculture: Producing More Than Produce. The video contest is open to students in grades 6-12 with a 30 second Public Service Announcement (PSA) on HAF's mission to promote agriculture and farming. There will be four prizes per contest, with awarded gift cards as follows: 1st place - $200, 2nd place - $150, 3rd place - $100, 4th place - $50.
    All submissions must be exclusively student-created and cannot incorporate anything, in whole or in part, that is owned or created by any third party. The eight winning entries will be part of a special 
stationery set featuring the winning pieces of art and PSAs.
    To find out more and to enter see https://www.hawaiiagfoundation.org/localicious-hawai%CA%BBi-art-and-video-contest/

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See February events and Kaʻū Calendar newspaper sponsors at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/02/events-of-february-2022.html


See the February Print Edition of The Kaʻū Calendar at