Hawai‘i Agricultural Programs Receive $430,600 in Federal Block Grant

The state was awarded $430,600 through a federal block grant program to help strengthen the state’s specialty crop industry. The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture has approved 10 project proposals under the US Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which aims to enhance the competitiveness of Hawaiʻi-grown specialty crops in local, domestic and international markets.

Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Much of Hawaiʻi’s diversified agriculture falls under this specialty crop designation. 

“Hawaiʻi initiatives that are being funded under this program will help our farmers and growers increase production, expand their markets and help boost our agricultural economy,” said Gov. David Ige. “With the constant challenges inherent in agriculture, support like this can be essential in helping to improve and grow the industry.”

“Specialty crops are the backbone of Hawaiʻi agriculture,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Board of Agriculture. “It is encouraging to see that we are able to fund several research projects, including those that address critical agricultural issues such as the plant diseases and pests.”

HDOA received 37 project proposals for the grant and 10 were chosen by a selection committee based on their potential to benefit the industry. The selected projects will help increase production for farmers and growers, manage plant diseases and pest, increase food safety for manufactured and value-added products, and enhance marketing programs, among other objectives.

While not a requirement of this federal grant, many of these initiatives have additional or matching funds from other sources, providing greater leverage to the grant funds.

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