Hawaii lawmakers have allocated $10 million for the acquisition of an additional 500 acres of agricultural land in Central Oahu that will be used for a major project aimed at revitalizing the local agriculture industry. The plan is to bring farmers and the state together to increase local food production, create jobs and provide affordable housing.
State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, D-Mililani Mauka-Wahiawa, who is helping to lead the $200 million effort, confirmed the deal to PBN.
Additionally, another $500,000 was appropriated to investigate the feasibility of exchanging state land for agricultural parcels currently owned by Dole Food Co., which is looking to liquidate 15,000 acres, of which more than 5,000 acres are agriculture land, he said.
About a year ago, the state acquired a warehouse from Tamura’s Market in Wahiawa in Central Oahu for $4.3 million, which set in motion The Whitmore Village Agricultural Development Plan.
The plan also includes thousands of acres of farmlands, an agricultural hub that has an ag technology park and ag foreign-trade zone; workforce housing; the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at University of Hawaii Manoa; and the former Tamura’s warehouse.
The state’s Agribusiness Development Corp., along with Dela Cruz, are leading the charge to help bring to life the Whitmore Project.
So far, besides the warehouse, the plan has completed several steps, including the purchase of 1,700 acres of Galbraith Estate land and a 24-acre parcel formerly owned by Castle & Cooke, as well as securing public-private partnerships with the High Technology Development Corp., the Hawaii Housing Finance Development Corp., Agribusiness Incubator Program, Hawaii Department of Education and the Wahiawa Community Based Development Organization.
Pacific Business News