Maui farmers seek restoration of funds
By Wendy Osher
The council’s Budget and Finance Committee continues to fine tune details of their FY 2011 Budget. The majority of public testimony Wednesday morning focused on calls for restoration of funds for farming programs.
In his testimony yesterday, Maui County Farm Bureau Executive Director Warren Watanabe said, “A proposal to take $50,000 away from the Maui County Farm Bureau would critically fracture the county’s efforts to support agriculture and seriously jeopardize the number of excellent programs and ongoing efforts for Maui agriculture.”
The Maui County Farm Bureau is the larges non-profit agricultural organization in the county, representing commercial agriculture operations.
Watanabe said the council funding directly supports a number of programs including the Maui County Agricultural Festival and the local Grown on Maui public education campaign that highlights the importance of buying local.
“The Grown on Maui campaign is important because most of our members and farmers don’t have the resources to do their own promotional campaign,” said Watanabe.
Another program that utilizes county funds is the Ag in the Classroom program that Watanabe said has grown from two 2nd grade classrooms when the program first launched, to participation last year of 15 elementary, intermediate and high schools.
The budget committee plans to finalize details of the FY 2011 budget by Friday, April 30, 2010.