How inept can they be?

 

The governor's planed upheaval of the agriculture andinspection services in the state is at best a disaster for neighbor islands. Itcan be looked it in two ways, she is either wasting time and tax payers moneyby playing politics with an issue that gets most residents riled up or she istotally out of touch with the reality of agriculture in the state. In eithercase she and others responsible for this plan to rid neighbor islands ofagriculture inspectors are totally inept. We really should considerimpeachment.

 

How to fix it?

The solution is fairly easy when you take away the politicsand actually think about what can benefit growers in Hawaii.  In the annual report from the HawaiiDepartment of Agriculture for the fiscal year 2007 as compiled by the USDAthere are lists of the amounts of imported produce that is also grown inHawaii.

 

There are hundreds of fruits and vegetables imported intoHawaii with few being inspected. If we take only 5 items, bananas, avocados,lemons, limes, and tangerines and get the total weight of imported items,25,553,000, then figure a 5 cents per pound fee to inspect these items, thetotal is $1,277,650.00  That ismore than enough for a few inspectors here in Kona.  Add 15 million pounds of imported oranges times 5 cents andit is another $750,000.00.  Add,tomatoes, carrots, daikon, romaine, peppers, onions, melons and even papayas.(Yes, someone actually imports papayas into Hawaii!  Then again it's shocking to Kona growers that people wouldactually import avocados and oranges.) 

 

So you add up all of these fruits and vegetables then add inthe green coffee used for blending Kona coffee down to the point ofridiculousness. The total imports are shocking yet revealing. The total issomething like 300 million pounds of competitive imports and at 5 cents a poundequals $15,000,000.00   morethan enough to pay for a few inspectors and with a little left over that shouldgo to the Ag groups for marketing assistance like other states who'sadministrations actually serve local agriculture and not the import business.

 

So, if it's so easy to come up with this money why don'tthey do it?  The answer ispoliticks -- poly as in many and tics as in blood sucking insects. Too manyfriends of friends in high places making more money on the imports than on thelocal produce. It's about time they start to think about our community and notabout their pocketbooks.