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area because it required less water than other crops. Contracts with a pineapple company were signed in 1926 whereby homesteaders were to supply the company with fruit at a minimum guaranteed price. The company was to also provide financing and the necessary technical assistance for cultivating and harvesting the fruit.
The Kanahele report states that the Commission and the homesteaders had, by 1945, turned to pineapple as the only viable hope for the homestead economy. Many homesteaders were employed by the pineapple companies. Pineapple was growing on 4,000 acres by 1943 and by 1951 on more than 5,800 acres, or almost all of the available homestead agricultural lots in Hoolehua. The companies which had the marketing expertise provided an income source that no other crop had provided. Net income to homesteaders in 1938 was $430,000, and some homesteaders received as much as $10,000 in a single season during the depression. Pineapple did so well that before long the homesteaders were, in effect, leasing the land and the pineapple companies were farming the homestead acres.
On October 10, 1972, one of the pineapple companies announced that because of economic considerations it was going to close its pineapple operations on Molokai at the end of 1975, and several months later the other company announced that it would substantially reduce its pineapple operations in 1977. Thus, as a result of relying on a one-crop and two-company supported economy, 3,100 acres went out of production in 1975 and another 2,700 acres in 1978. Thus, 168 homesteaders no longer had income from planters agreements, and 75 homesteaders, who also worked for the pineapple companies, had lost their jobs. Currently, most of the 5,800 acres are unused. The "Molokai miracle," which showed that the agriculture program could be successful and justified expansion of the Home lands program, dissolved into an economic disaster 50 years later.
According to representatives of the Soil and Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, farming can be a success on Molokai, but there are many problems pertaining to homestead lands that will have to be overcome before homesteaders can achieve success. Among these are: planting of windbreaks to protect crops from Hoolehua's high winds; breaking up of the soil compacted by the roads developed by the pineapple companies; determining the effects of the pesticides used by the pineapple companies on the soil; upgrading the soil quality; obtaining assurances that there is a commitment on the part of the homesteaders to develop farms; and a redesigning of the 35-acre farm lots which are not conducive to family type farming because they are long and narrow. Other problems identified with farming on Molokai include the lack of marketing facilities and expertise and a dependable transportation system to get the products to market. DHHL hired an agricultural expert in 1981 and is now in the process of studying the problems.
In addition, DHHL has been one of the principal supporters of Maui Community College's development of a 60-acre farm project started with $2.5 million in Federal funds. The project was initially established to work with teenagers, many of whom were from homesteading families, in order to introduce them to farming. DHHL anticipates that the project will be established as an institute to provide "hands on" technical knowledge to the native Hawaiians on the island of Molokai.
DHHL is also working on a development program for farms which are not under cultivation located in the
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