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Farm Product Purchase Program extended

By Staff | Jul 16, 2020

Now in its fourth month, the program is available to Maui farms and farmers that sold an average of $2,500 per month in produce prior to March 2020.

KULA – The Maui County Farm Bureau announced that the County of Maui has extended COVID-19 pandemic relief funding to keep MCFB’s Farm Product Purchase Program (FPPP) available through July 31, 2020 for a total of more than $300,000.

Commercial farmers who have produce available are welcome to join this program. Membership in MCFB is not a requirement.

To participate, call Heidi Watanabe, FPPP produce coordinator, at (808) 357-8593.

When the COVID-19 lock down closed most of Maui’s hotels and restaurants earlier this year, Maui farmers’ wholesale markets crashed overnight.

“Using our strong community network, MCFB launched the Farm Purchase Product Program,” said Warren K. Watanabe, executive director of MCFB.

“This program allowed us to purchase farm produce from Maui farmers and, in turn, donate fresh produce to Feed My Sheep, Maui Food Bank and Salvation Army programs who are feeding residents on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. These are families who are unemployed or in need due to other circumstances.”

The bureau launched its FPPP on April 2 and planned it to run through May 9. The program’s success and added financial contributions by the County of Maui and the nonprofit group Ulupono kept the program alive through June.

Now, with the county’s announcement to extend funding through July 31, the food purchase and distribution program continues into its fourth month.

Through the program, the County purchases everything from strawberries to daikon, pineapple to kale, from Maui commercial farms.

The criteria are that the farms have sold an average of $2,500 per month in produce prior to March 2020 (not limited to MCFB members).

Maui County Farm Bureau is a grassroots 501(c)(5) organization of farms and ranch families, agricultural industries and associated organizations dedicated to supporting agriculture in Maui County.

It is affiliated with both the statewide Hawaii Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

For more information about the Maui County Farm Bureau and its programs, visit www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org/.