Investment In Agriculture Big For Central Oahu
By Sen.Donovan Dela Cruz
This past session was challenging but also rewarding, as there were a number of significant measures passed. One of my goals is to see the creation of an agricultural hub in Central Oahu to help agriculture become a prominent industry again. I am pleased to report on the following projects that I have been working on:
State Packing and Processing Facility: Plans, land acquisition, design and construction – $3,600,000.
This will allow us to retrofit the facilities on 24 acres of land at Whitmore Village to become a regional agricultural packing and processing facility.
My long-term goal is to transform the area into a modern agriculture processing and distribution hub to reduce the dependence on imported produce.
Farmers are forced to make a substantial investment to meet food safety standards, thus escalating the cost for Hawaii’s local producers. Those who eventually will farm on the Galbraith lands must invest in constructing food safety-certified facilities and/or transport their produce elsewhere, which would add to their overhead costs.
The state made a solid commitment to secure portions of Galbraith Estate to promote farm ownership and diversified agriculture. I believe that the acquisition of this land with the facilities in Whitmore will provide opportunities for farming and related agricultural industries.
Galbraith Lands Irrigation System: Plans and design for an irrigation system – $750,000.
The sum of $13 million was released by the governor to acquire 1,207 acres of Galbraith land for farming and diversified agriculture. There currently is only one well on the property, however, to serve the entire 1,723 acres of Galbraith land.
This project will enable the state to install the necessary infrastructure to pump water from the north fork of Kaukonahua Stream to the property to provide affordable long-term water suitable for agriculture for the entire property.
This is important for field irrigation, as it allows the preservation of drinking water supplies, which are reaching critical levels as drought conditions prevail periodically. If the state wants to achieve food security and sustainability, it needs to make the vital investments.
My effort is to continue promoting agriculture as viable industry again. We must decrease our dependence on imported produce and rely more on local products, and we as a state need to work together to make this happen.
Call Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz at 586-6090 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.