During that same decade, however, the seed companies nearly quintupled their production in Hawaii, growing into a $243 million annual industry — the most valuable crop in the state. Compare that to the 2011-12 values of flowers/nursery products ($69.6 million), aquaculture ($40 million), coffee ($34.6 million), veggies ($28.8 million) and taro ($2.3 million). According to the 2009 report “Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry: Current and Potential Economic and Fiscal Contributions” by Radford University:
Seed crop value shipments increased 133% from 2004-05 to 2007-08, an average annual increase of 33%. The authors are unaware of any other industry or economic subsector in Hawaii exhibiting such exponential growth. Hawaii’s seed crop industry average annual value growth since 1968 (14.2%) greatly exceeds Hawaii’s general economic growth as measured by GSP (7%). This growth rate difference is even more dramatic since 1998.
So while I appreciate the post-march passion of a Facebooker who enthused, “We made history today. Now our leaders have to listen to us,” it's not, unfortunately, quite that easy. The seed/chem industry still has a much louder voice, especially at the Lege. That's why it doesn't seem an effective strategy to channel all this new enthusiasm into simply calling for the passage of HB174. Because that bill, which labels imported GMO produce and does nothing to address the seed industry here or anywhere else, isn't going to quiet that corporate voice.
Meanwhile, a hostile crowd raised its voice in unanimous opposition Friday night to Green Energy Team's proposal to lease 2,137 acres of homestead land in Anahola. The company, headed by Eric Knutzen, wants to harvest albezia to burn in its south side biofuel plant and reforest the acreage with eucalyptus. The proposal would tie up homestead land for 30 years and is touted as a way to generate income for homestead development. Still, the exact benefit — aside from a "community picnic area" — is unclear, unless you can decipher this:
Homestead Participation Revenue — 2% of gross equivalent value of thermal power harvested from the lands and such funds will be used for funding the items identified in the benefits agreement including employment training and outreach by HCDC for homestead residents.
Huh? The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will hold public hearings at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at King Kaumualii school in Hanamaulu, and 9 a.m. Friday at the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel in Kapaa, if you want to voice your opinion on this plan.
And jurors, in returning a guilty verdict against Vicente Hilario, voiced their certainty that he is the man who gunned down Aureo Moore. Their verdict serves to validate the election of Prosecutor Justin Kollar, whose opponents — including Assistant Police Chief Roy Asher — claimed it was important to the case that former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho's administration carry on. More importantly, the verdict vindicates Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes, the heavy-hitter in this trial who was nearly fired a year ago when Shay emailed her during the misery of the Brady-Butler horse abuse case that “this might not be the right office for you.”
Good thing Melinda didn't heed that bullying voice.