Go Maui: ‘It is Vital That Agriculture Be Kept a Part of Maui’

January 7, 2016, 10:41 AM HST · Updated October 18, 1:47 PM
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Alice Lee, Go Maui courtesy photo.

Alice Lee, Go Maui courtesy photo.

Alice Lee, president of Go Maui Inc., commented on yesterday’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.

“Like many others today, I am saddened by the announcement that HC&S will cease sugar operations on Maui,” said Lee. “For almost a thousand families of those workers employed by HC&S, this will mean challenging times, at least in the near term. It will also heavily impact businesses that provided agricultural supplies and support to HC&S over many years.

“I am heartened by the news that A&B is committed to seeking alternate agricultural crops and biomass energy crop uses for land now committed to sugar production,” said Lee. “It is vital that agriculture be kept a part of Maui’s economy and culture and we continue to seek food and energy security and a healthy agriculture economy. We should do all we can to partner with A&B and help ensure their successful transition.

“This is a time when we should be respectful of our neighbor’s feelings as the news of the closure circulates through the community,” she said. “It is the end of an era on Maui and the state of Hawai‘i, but it can be an opportunity for new beginnings if we work together for the benefit of the entire island and set our differences aside.

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“I urge the county and the state to make immediately available all possible aid to the workers who will be laid off, including Rapid Response teams from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to help with unemployment insurance payments, job training and job placement.

“Our hearts are heavy tonight and we send our aloha to everyone involved,” said Lee.

MAUI NOW STORY LINK
A&B/HC&S to Transition Out of Sugar Production

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