Maui Blog - Georgie Hunter R(S): This is the end - the end of sugar on Maui

This is the end - the end of sugar on Maui

This is the end - the end of sugar on Maui

It has been officially announced that there will be no more sugar cane growing on Maui after this 2016 season.  HC&S (Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company) will not be planting any more sugar cane, but will continue to harvest the crops in the ground this year.

sugar cane growing in central Maui

This is a huge event for Maui and the end of an era in Hawaii.  Sugar has been grown here in the islands since 1835, and at one time there were over 30 plantations on Maui alone.  In the 1960's sugar operations were eclipsed by the rise of tourism, and in the 1990's the writing was on the wall.  Maui's Puunene Sugar Mill is the last mill still operating in Hawaii and after processing this final harvest it will no longer serve its intended function.

the old sugar cane train bus, in Haiku Maui

This news comes with mixed feelings for many.  Over 650 people will be laid off, many after a lifetime of working for the company.  The sugar industry had been such a part of the landscape and history of Hawaii that countless lives have been shaped and touched over generations.  Maui as we have come to know it will no longer exist.  Opponents of the sugar cane burning practice are rejoicing that they will soon be able to breath easier whenever harvest time rolls around.  But time will tell whether or not any replacement crops will make a difference to the air quality for those living down wind.  There's still the "Monsanto factor" to consider.

sugar cane burning before harvest on Maui

What's going to happen to those 36,000 acres of beautiful swaying cane fields?  HC&S hopes to transition into diversified agriculture under their parent company A&B (Alexander & Baldwin).  Here on Maui we are all curious as to what the next few years will bring and hope that this change will create some opportunities for small farmers to explore more sustainable options.  We could really benefit from more food being produced right here on the island.

sugar cane fields on Maui 2015

Do you have any great ideas for using farm land on Maui? How many acres do you need?

Georgie Hunter R(S) e-Pro, Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers
161 Wailea Ike Place C-103B, Wailea HI 96753
127 Hana Hwy. #G, Paia HI 96779
800 667-5028 ex 8241

direct: 808 283-0635


Comment balloon 7 commentsGeorgie Hunter R(S) 58089 • March 01 2016 02:03PM


This is a sad day for me because I can remember back in the 70s when I used to ride my motorcycle through the cane fields Georgie Hunter R(S) 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) almost 3 years ago

Georgie Hunter R(S) - It is very sad indeed. On a positive note, but one industry on Maui still will be growing cane.  We went to the Ocean Vodka Farm last year and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. They use different varieties of cane and of course they are famous for the water. I don't see that changing for awhile. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 3 years ago

Hello Georgie ... wow that is very interesting, great photos and your post has been featured to the group:


Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) almost 3 years ago

Hi Georgie Hunter R(S) ,  That's sad that another large amount of people will be out of work, due to progress. I would guess housing may take its place, although if a theme park were to replace the cane fields, it would create more jobs and tourism.  A tropical theme park, with restaurants, rides, shops, like what they did at Disney World with the Polynesian Village, being connected by monorail to the rest of the park.  The  ground should be hard enough to support the rides etc.

Posted by Larry Johnston, Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN (Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Hi Georgie, very interesting, I did not know this was happening. I understand both viewpoints. I will be curious to hear what happens to the land over the next few years.

Posted by Marney Kirk, Towson, Maryland Real Estate (Cummings & Co. Realtors) almost 3 years ago

Thanks for all your comments!

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 3 years ago

Georgie, feel sorry for those sugar cane workers that will be laid off, and wonder what these acres will be used for after it shuts down.  

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) almost 3 years ago

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