Mauna Kea Banana Company Closes Banana Production

Richard and June Ha
Richard and June Ha

PEPEEKEO, Big Island (KHNL) -- Mauna Kea Banana Company on the Big Island announced Friday it is ending its banana operation after 30 years in in the banana business.

The company will continue to produce its hydroponic vegetables.

Mauna Kea president Richard Ha says the decision to shut down is due to rising costs.

Nine workers will be laid off immediately and another 20 will be let go in a few months when the final banana harvest is completed.

Ha plans to lease the banana land to area farmers.

Mauna Kea Banana Company will be expanding its hydrophonics operation, which sells under the brand Hamakua Springs Country Farms.

The company plans to add 20 new planting houses for tomatoes and other produce.