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  • Distribution and marketing problems such as poor air and barge service, distance to market.

The draft report is based on a rather narrow perspective. Over the 60 year history of the HHCA, farming and ranching has been a priority concern. The draft report focuses on recent events which in many ways do not reflect a long-term trend. Current economic conditions, for example, have affected native Hawaiian lessees (as well as other farmers and ranchers). Certain crops are seasonal in nature, therefore, site visitations may have been misleading. Big Island [i.e., island of Hawaii] lessees are adjusting to the impact of severe weather problems.

DHHL views the farming and ranching homestead programs as an investment in native Hawaiians who make significant contributions to the economy of Hawaii. DHHL plays a supportive and advisory role; DHHL will not dictate what to grow, when and how. Each native Hawaiian farmer and rancher makes the final decision.

DHHL has actively pursued measures which are consistent with its proper role, which will support native Hawaiian farmers and ranchers in their endeavors. Farm agents and technical assistance are provided, rules have been promulgated to clearly define applicant qualifications and farm/ranch plan requirements. Recently, DHHL sought and received authority to increase loan limits and expand purposes for loans, to allow a residence on an agricultural lot, and to provide aquaculture homestead leases. DHHL has connected Haimea farmers to the State Lalamilo Irrigation System, has encouraged lessees to transfer lots to more suitable locations, expanded the definition of agriculture to include poultry and livestock (pigs), and is investigating potentials for DHHL agricultural loan guarantees with other Federal and State sources.

These efforts have demonstrated DHHL's commitment to agriculture. Many native Hawaiian agricultural lessees have responded positively by increasing acreage under cultivation, increasing levels of production, examining new products and markets. Many young native Hawaiians are expressing a strong commitment to agriculture. These trends are expected to continue and add to the momentum. DHHL must be prepared to respond.

b. Finding: Over 60% of the farm tracts are not in full cultivation, including 42% that are not under any cultivation (page 35).

Comment: These figures reflect the number of farm leases, not the number of acres. Most leases are not under full cultivation, however, most are under some cultivation. Table [75] shows information compiled for the 1981 District Manager Reports. It is a more accurate description of the farming activity. [Table 75 appears at the end of this chapter]. DHHL is focusing more attention on the problems and needs at Hoolehua, Molokai, that impede farm production. This is discussed in another section.

4. Molokai Farm Problems

Finding: 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 (pp. 38-40).

Comment: Other problems should be added to the eight listed, including, lack of research and experiment facilities on the island, inadequate water to supply the entire homestead farm area and high cost to link system to new source(s) of water, lack of farming expertise, and inability of some homesteaders to farm due to age