Maui County establishes its own Department of Agriculture

Taro farming. File photo

Maui County has become the first county in the State of Hawai’i to establish its own Department of Agriculture.

In November 2020, Maui County voters approved the passage of a charter amendment to establish the department.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino has selected the department’s director and deputy director. They are in the process of completing their pre-employment screening process.

Their names will be announced on July 6 during an event that will highlight the historic importance of the department.

The appointed Director must be confirmed by the Maui County Council.

“I am very impressed by all of the applicants and the caliber of their qualifications,” Mayor Victorino said. “They understand the practical challenges of farming and ranching in Hawaiʻi.”

The leadership was chosen with the help of an Advisory Selection Committee, with members Vincent Mina, Bobby Pahia, William Jacintho, Warren Watanabe and Kilia Purdy-Avelino.

The mission of the new department is to:

  • Support the development and continued management of a sustainable regional agricultural system for Maui County
  • Promote resident and ecosystem health and well-being
  • Create a thriving circular agro-economic system that can be a model for the rest of the world.

“At the onset, I was very clear with the working group that we needed a department that would be a strong voice and an advocate for farming and ranching on Maui, and I am confident we are building the team to achieve that,” Mayor Victorino said.

The new department is located on Kaohu Street next to the rear parking lot of Kalana O Maui (County Building).

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