Maui Discussion

LETTER: Maui Coffee Grower Speaks Out Against GMO Moratorium

September 19, 2014, 8:36 AM HST
* Updated September 22, 12:35 AM
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MauiGrown Coffee president, Kimo Falconer, inspects the fruits of his team’s labor during the drying process. The processing methods used for their coffee varietals is contributing to the company’s growing success. Courtesy photo.

MauiGrown Coffee president, Kimo Falconer, inspects the fruits of his team’s labor during the drying process. The processing methods used for their coffee varietals is contributing to the company’s growing success. Courtesy photo.

By James “Kimo” Falconer (owner and president, MauiGrown Coffee, Kāʻanapali)

It is not true, as some claim, that no GMO crops are grown on Maui. Actually, local Maui farmers grow GMO corn, squash and Rainbow Papaya and sell their products in Maui grocery stores and have for years. This false argument that ignores the variety of farming on Maui is another indication of the destructive nature of this expensive, complicated and poorly written 12-page initiative.

The initiative claims to be a temporary moratorium but in reality it is an immediate and permanent farming ban. Large and small farms on Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi would be shutdown—even small backyard gardens—and the regulatory hurdles in the initiative are contrived to make it impossible to reopen farms. In fact, it requires a “super majority” of a 2/3 vote on the County Council to reopen a closed farm. The ban includes fines for farmers of up to $50,000 and 600 jobs will be lost.

Equally dangerous is the harm that will come to farmers who safely apply pesticides to protect their crops. The uncertainty of what will be allowed and what will be banned is causing increasing concern among Maui’s farmers who are worried about their ability to continue farming.

Please vote NO on this harmful, deceptive and costly farming ban initiative.

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