Mahi Pono and HFA donate potatoes and transportation to bring locally-grown potatoes to Hawaiʻi residents during the pandemic.
Mahi Pono, LLC, on Maui delivered a shipping container full of Maui-grown potatoes to the Hawaiʻi Foodbank on Friday.
Nearly 30,000 pounds of potatoes were harvested from Mahi Pono’s test crop and and were taken to the Hawaiʻi Foodservice Alliance for distribution on Oʻahu and Kauaʻi.
Mahi Pono is working to transform 41,000 acres of vacant former sugar cane land into a hub of diversified agriculture. The farming company began planting test crops of white, red and yellow potatoes last August, as part of its diversified agriculture development plan.
“We are extremely grateful to Mahi Pono for its generous donation, and we thank Chad Buck from Hawaiʻi Foodservice Alliance for shipping the 15 tons of potatoes to us,” said Ron Mizutani, CEO and President of Hawaiʻi Foodbank. “We are also excited about Mahi Pono’s focus to raise food for consumption statewide. Investments in agriculture are critical to increasing agricultural productivity, and sustainable food production systems need to be a part of the conversation to address hunger.”
Mahi Pono officials are optimistic potatoes will become a signature crop for Maui. Since the test planting began in August, Mahi Pono has also planted approximately 120 acres of citrus trees – limes, lemons and mandarin oranges – and 20 acres of non-GMO solo papayas.
“Hawaiʻi is heavily dependent upon imports for our produce, and Mahi Pono is committed to helping our community achieve food security. This test crop is one of the first steps in our efforts, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to strengthen sustainable agriculture for the state,” said Shan Tsutsui, Mahi Pono’s senior vice president of operations. “We are pleased to share this donation with Hawaiʻi Foodbank and its network of food banks across Hawaiʻi and we look forward to future opportunities together.”