By Maui Now Staff
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa announced that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Monsanto, “obtaining assurances from the company that they will engage in safe practices involving restricted-use pesticides.”
The MOU was reached earlier this month, and comes after bills were passed on Kauaʻi and in Hawaiʻi County, involving restrictions on the use of pesticides, the mayor’s announcement said.
According to officials with the mayor’s office, the county decided to approach Monsanto, while watching the developments in other counties, seeking “disclosure of the company’s restricted-use pesticides and all information about related practices.”
According to Mayor Arakawa, Monsanto, which operates farms on Maui and Molokaʻi, “readily complied,” and signed an agreement being referred to as the “Maui County AG Oversight Agreement.”
Monsanto Community & Government Affairs Manager Carol Reimann commented on the new agreement saying, “Monsanto has a company-wide pledge to dialogue and respect, and we strive every day to be a good neighbor and manage our business responsibly.”
“We are pleased to have engaged in the mayor’s ‘Ag Oversight Agreement,’ as it is a reflection of our sincere desire for positive dialogue and improved understanding of our farming practices. We appreciate the mayor’s strong leadership and commitment to the community,” said Reimann.
The mayor’s office released details of the agreement, which state that Monsanto must do the following:
- Disclose details on the restricted-use pesticides that are being used here, including the types, amounts used and the number of acres treated;
- Provide information about their stewardship measures related to pesticide technologies, fugitive dust and soil erosion;
- Strictly adhere to all federal and state pesticide-use requirements; and
- Meet quarterly with Maui County regarding the use of pesticides and other issues the community may have.
Mayor Arakawa said, “the AGOA will help provide some much-needed information to the public without putting financial burdens on taxpayers or opening the county up to costly lawsuits.”
“Responsible use of pesticides is a concern for us all, especially for those of us who grew up on these islands when sugar cane and pineapples were our main exports,” said Mayor Arakawa in a press release statement issued this afternoon.
“There must be safeguards and a sharing of information, and I believe the AG Oversight Agreement is a proactive step we needed to take in providing both for our community.”
Similar MOU agreements are also being developed by the County of Maui with Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, according to the mayor’s announcement.
For more on the GMO ban passed by Hawaii County Council, and why the ban is legally problematic, see: ANALYSIS: GMO Ban a Poorly-Crafted Invitation for Lawsuits courtesy of our news team on the Big Island.