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$1.5M available to help grow agriculture endeavors

HONOLULU — The state Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for the Grow Hawai‘i Agriculture Initiative 2021, an plan to quickly scale up commercial agricultural production including the production of value-added products.

Some $1.5 million in funds was provided by the state Legislature during the 2020 session.

The goal is to increase the contribution of agriculture to the state’s gross domestic product.

The GDP is the total market value of final goods and services produced that also serves as an indicator of economic health.

Under the Grow Hawai‘i Initiative, DOA expects to award about six proposals from commercial agricultural enterprises for up to $250,000 or some alternate combination deemed most advantageous to the state.

This request is for local farmers, ranchers and other operators with proven track records of success but in need of urgent funding to expand their commercial production, and to establish working models that can effectively contribute to growth of agriculture GDP by implementing one or more of the following strategies:

• Expansion — Expand the size, diversity and/or scope of operations;

• Input-chain enhancement — Enhance production through addressing challenges in supply/cost of inputs to an agricultural operation;

• Technology — Increase production efficiency through use of new and emerging technologies;

• Supply-chain enhancement — Address the supply-chain bottlenecks that plague Hawai‘i agriculture, i.e., lack of infrastructure (cold storage, processing, distribution challenges), establishment of cooperative ventures, etc.;

• Value-added products — Increase the value-added potential, either at their hands or by that of another business entity.

Information on the request for proposals may be found at the state procurement website, hands.ehawaii.gov/hands/opportunities/opportunity-details/20081.

Applications and proposals must be emailed to Marci Clingan at marci.clingan@hawaii.gov and received by noon Monday, May 3.

Project funds are expected to be available in July.

“The goal of this initiative is to fund projects by proven commercial enterprises that can significantly move the needle for Hawai‘i agriculture,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the state Board of Agriculture.

“We know that with some funding support, local agricultural businesses can overcome some of the roadblocks and barriers that challenge economic growth in agriculture, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic environment,” she said.

Questions regarding the application process may addressed to the DOA’s Agricultural Development Division via email at: matthew.k.loke@hawaii.gov.

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