Sugar Cane Ending In Hawai’i

Steven Pagano, Reporter

This year 2016, will mark the last year that Hawai’i will no longer be producing sugar cane. The sugar cane industry has been ongoing in Hawai’i for over 150 years and is finally meeting its end. The Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company (HC&S) on the island of Maui will be laying off 675 employees by the end of the year. What was once the core of Hawaii’s economy will be no more.

“If you told somebody in 1950 when sugar was the absolute foundation of the entire economy in the Hawaiian islands that the day was going to come when sugar was going to end they would not have believed you, it would be impossible to comprehend, and here we are,” said DeSoto Brown, a historian at Bishop Museum in an interview with KITV4 news.

“The reason the Hawaiian islands population is so diverse is primarily because of the sugar industry,” said Brown.

The company says that after the plantation is fully shut down it will transition the 36,000 acre land into room for smaller farm lands, potentially for varied agriculture like cattle, food, energy crops, and development of an agriculture park.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said his heart goes out to workers who will lose their jobs, but the change was inevitable. “Fruit trees, taro, bio-mass, papayas, avocados and much more have all gone through trial testing, leaving us very confident that while sugar cane is dead, agriculture will remain very much alive here,” he said in a statement.