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Mahi Pono farming venture buys 41,000 acres of farmland from A&B

By Staff | Jan 3, 2019

Former sugarcane lands will remain in agriculture and become diversified, GMO-free farms, Mahi Pono LLC reported.

HONOLULU – Mahi Pono LLC recently announced the purchase of approximately 41,000 acres of former Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. lands on Maui from Alexander & Baldwin. This agreement ensures the continued use of these lands for agriculture, the preservation of green, open space in Central Maui and a consistent and long-term source of revenue for the local economy.

Mahi Pono, which means “to farm or cultivate morally and properly,” is a farming venture between Pomona Farming LLC, a California-based agricultural group, and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), a long-term investor and one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers.

Mahi Pono is planning a full range of agricultural operations and related uses. There are no plans to convert any of the lands to non-agricultural purposes.

“With our purchase of this fertile land, we want to help ensure that Maui’s residents can produce agricultural products for future generations,” said Ann Chin, president, Mahi Pono.

“We want to expand Maui’s thriving and diversified agriculture industry. As we develop our plans, we will work closely with local stakeholders, including the agricultural community, our neighbors, government officials, civic leaders and the local community.”

“Mahi Pono is committed to sustainable agriculture,” added Chin. “We will be stewards of the land and responsible users and protectors of Hawaii’s natural resources and environment.”

“This agreement significantly increases the potential for a meaningful advancement in food security and a renewed pledge to growing agriculture on Maui – topics that continue to resonate with me since I initiated the ? ‘Aina Pono Hawai’i State Farm-to-School Program in 2015,” said Shan Tsutsui, former lieutenant governor of the state, former state senator from Maui and Mahi Pono advisor. “It’s my hope that the fruits of this agreement will have a lasting impact on our keiki, the agriculture industry, and the state’s ability to become truly sustainable for many years to come.”

Key elements of Mahi Pono’s plans include:

1) Production of high-quality, non-GMO foodstuffs for local consumption, with export potential.

2) Creation of jobs for local residents, with job training and educational programs for employees.

3) Providing land and water in an agricultural park for use by small, local farmers.

4) Providing local partners with resources such as farming expertise, farming resources and equipment, and development and farming capital.

5) Mahi Pono took over diversified agricultural leases, and purchased Kulolio Ranch and Central Maui Feedstocks, from A&B as part of this agreement.

6) A&B and Mahi Pono will form a joint venture to own and operate East Maui Irrigation Company.

7) All of A&B’s active agricultural personnel will be offered positions with Mahi Pono.