Maui Mayor: ‘We Knew That This Day Was Inevitable’
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa issued the following statement in reaction to today’s announcement that A&B is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model for its 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company plantation on Maui.
“The sugar industry in Hawai‘i first began on Maui so it is only right that it ends here as well,” said Mayor Arakawa. “Our hearts go out to the workers whose jobs will be affected by this transition. We hope that they can be absorbed back into the workforce without delay and the county will assist in any way we can.
“I’ve assigned Managing Director Keith Regan to work with HC&S to see what kind of help we can
provide,” said the mayor.
“Still, we knew that this day was inevitable,” the mayor added. “HC&S for years now has planted crop after crop to see what they could use to replace sugar cane, and they have kept my office informed every step of the way. Fruit trees, taro, bio-mass, papayas, avocados and much more have all gone through trial testing, leaving us very confident that while sugar cane is dead, agriculture will remain very much alive here.
“We look forward to HC&S’ plans for the future of ag on Maui and the opportunities it will bring. Although jobs may be lost in the near future we believe that other ag related projects and programs will bring back many positions eventually.
“Today marks the end of an era but also a new beginning for Maui as we work towards food and energy sustainability with HC&S and Alexander & Baldwin,” said the mayor. “I also ask that community members be respectful to one another about this issue, as people are very emotional right now. Let’s all do our best to help each other out so that we can all get to the next stage of Maui’s future.”
MAUI NOW STORY LINK
A&B/HC&S to Transition Out of Sugar Production