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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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direct: 808 283-0635