Maui Voters Establish a County Department of Agriculture

Councilmember Shane M. Sinenci

Councilmember Shane Sinenci expressed his gratitude to Maui County voters following passage of the charter amendment to establish a county Department of Agriculture.

“The new department will be dedicated to making local farming a more economically viable, environmentally friendly industry that will promote residents’ food security and access to healthy food,” he said.

According to the approved charter language, the new agency will “provide advocacy, and not create additional regulatory barriers, on all matters related to agriculture.”

“We want farmers and agriculture to succeed on Maui,” Sinenci said. “We do not want to add more weight onto the backs of farmers but rather to lift that weight.”

“I introduced the charter amendment in response to farmers requesting more assistance, both financially and technically, and residents’ concerns about our islands’ economic resiliency and food security,” said Sinenci, who chairs the Environmental, Agricultural and Cultural Preservation Committee. “Our people have spoken, and the decision by our voters to establish this department highlights its urgency and importance.”

The resolution proposing the charter amendment establishes the framework for the department and lists an effective date of July 1, 2022.

Sinenci said the department’s budget and operations will be specified through the council’s annual budget review and amendments to the Maui County Code. “Community input, grant funding opportunities, the county’s economic forecast and collaboration with the administration over the next two years will be crucial to the formation of this entity,” he said.

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