SHAKA Movement: ‘Time for New, Dynamic and Authentic Agriculture’
Mark Sheehan of the SHAKA Movement, 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.
“SHAKA is not surprised at the A&B announcement that they will be transitioning out of sugar into diversified AG,” said Sheehan. “Rather than investing in a few test plots, we hope A&B will use this opportunity to make a serious commitment to diversified agriculture with particular focus on growing foods for local markets.
“There is a great work to be done,” said Sheehan. “Depleted soils need to be revitalized. Erosion control is required. There are opportunities beyond cattle and energy crops—aquaponics, solar farms, diversified and organic food production.
“A&B employees and their families all would appreciate a chance to work on the best possible vision for productive use of the Central Maui plain,” he said. “Those employees need more than sympathy—they need new jobs for changed economy. Retain them and train them.
“A&B’s current value may be from their real estate holdings, but that wealth came from Maui lands and 147 years of sugar production; now is the time for the company to reinvest in HC&S employees and revision of new, dynamic and authentic agriculture,” Sheehan concluded.