How inept can they be?
The governor's planed upheaval of the agriculture and inspection services in the state is at best a disaster for neighbor islands. It can be looked it in two ways, she is either wasting time and tax payers money by playing politics with an issue that gets most residents riled up or she is totally out of touch with the reality of agriculture in the state. In either case she and others responsible for this plan to rid neighbor islands of agriculture inspectors are totally inept. We really should consider impeachment.
How to fix it?
The solution is fairly easy when you take away the politics and actually think about what can benefit growers in Hawaii. In the annual report from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year 2007 as compiled by the USDA there are lists of the amounts of imported produce that is also grown in Hawaii.
There are hundreds of fruits and vegetables imported into Hawaii 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, the total is $1,277,650.00 That is more than enough for a few inspectors here in Kona. Add 15 million pounds of imported oranges times 5 cents and it 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 would actually import avocados and oranges.)
So you add up all of these fruits and vegetables then add in the green coffee used for blending Kona coffee down to the point of ridiculousness. The total imports are shocking yet revealing. The total is something like 300 million pounds of competitive imports and at 5 cents a pound equals $15,000,000.00 more than enough to pay for a few inspectors and with a little left over that should go to the Ag groups for marketing assistance like other states who's administrations actually serve local agriculture and not the import business.
So, if it's so easy to come up with this money why don't they do it? The answer is politicks -- poly as in many and tics as in blood sucking insects. Too many friends of friends in high places making more money on the imports than on the local produce. It's about time they start to think about our community and not about their pocketbooks.