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Agriculture industry seeks bigger role in a diversified island economy

Farmers who produce vegetable and other crops could help break Hawaii's economy from its...
Farmers who produce vegetable and other crops could help break Hawaii's economy from its tourism dependence.(HNN File)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 8:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s agricultural industry is hoping to play a bigger role in a diversified economy.

A working group is planning new investments to make Hawaii farmers stronger. But the group is seeking millions in aid from the city and state.

“It’s going to be critical that we plan for that now and make those investments now because when this does happen — and it will happen again — that we can support the farmers and support the community needs through local food production,” member of the working group Chris Lee said.

Much of the money would focus on strengthening distribution systems to ensure crops can meet local needs and change course in emergencies.

For years, there have been calls for Hawaii’s economy to be less dependent on tourism. That dependence is fully visible as the pandemic stopped thousands of visitors from coming to the islands.

The result: Thousands of hotel and tourism industry workers were laid off.

Economists predict Hawaii’s economic growth will drop by 12.1 percent this year, and take at least six years for visitor arrivals to jump back to what they previously were.

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