Local farmers are hoping for the best

Dean Okimoto
Dean Okimoto

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)-The next time you go to buy groceries at a supermarket, just know that farmers are paying higher prices as well.

Chopper 8, high above Central Oahu, where you can see agriculture lands have slowly deteriorated.

More and more farmers are down sizing their crops and hoping for the best.

Most of the farms in Hawaii, including this one here in Waimanalo aren't blossoming as much as they used to.

Farmers like Dean Okimoto are forced to scale back their operations.

"It's kind of scary, you don't know," said Dean Okimoto.

"Survival is the key really in the next few months and that's what I'm hearing from a lot of farmers," he said.

Recent layoffs in the Maui Land and Pineapple company have some looking for ways to revive a once flourishing way of life.

"The hard part is finding labor, that's the hardest part for us, we can't find labor," said Okimoto.

But he says one thing that has really helped him out is the farmer's market, with sales up around 15%.

"What I'm seeing is the general public is supporting more farmer's market type, buying local type," he said.

For Okimoto and others, putting food on your table also means more "green" to feed his family.

"Times might be tough now, but if you really think about it, you can kind of see it turning," he said.

"Especially the general public, they're embracing sustainability. They're embracing more buying local, so yeah, I look forward to better times in the next few months."

A waiting game no one wants to experience, but in these times, it's all farmers can do.

Farmers say buying local will help keep them competitive with mainland producers.