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21 Molokai Farms Get Ag Micro Grants

MEO News Release

Maui County’s $2.5 million Agricultural Micro Grants Program, administered by Maui Economic Opportunity, purchased tractors, chippers and other supplies; put up fencing and sheds; and established an online presence for 105 small farms in the county – including 21 farms on Molokai.

With the program winding to a close, MEO Business Center Director David Daly said Monday, March 22, that his team is working on putting the finishing touches on the last couple of grants and the program.

The Agricultural Micro Grants Program was established to allow small Maui County farms to receive grants – up to $25,000 – that directly increase the availability of local produce, livestock, poultry and farm products while increasing agricultural capacity, productivity, name recognition and income.

Payments were made directly to vendors. Daly noted that vendors have been paid but that some farmers have not yet received equipment or materials due to manufacturing shortages and weather issues.

The money was used for farming equipment and machinery; processing and storage equipment; farm expansion, such as fencing and sheds; supplies, including fertilizers, soil amendments, seeds, plants and small tools; packing and packaging materials; technology equipment; marketing supplies and services, including website development; health and safety upgrades; and professional development and education.

MEO’s Business Development Center received more than 220 applications from October to January. The 105 grants included fruit, vegetable, aquaponics, livestock, herb, Native Hawaiian and medicinal plant farms, Daly said.

There is a wait list of more than 80 applicants, six on Molokai, Daly said.

MEO is referring farmers to a Hawaii Department of Agriculture micro-grant program for small-scale agriculture. The $1.9 million Micro-Grants for Food Security Program offers up to $5,000 to support small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations.

Applications may be found at hands.ehawaii.gov/hands/opportunities/opportunity-details/20023 . The deadline for emailing the completed forms to hdoa.addrfp@hawaii.gov is noon April 23. Awards are expected to be announced in May, with first disbursement of funds expected in July.

For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Market Development Branch by phone at (808) 973-9595 or by email at hdoa.addrfp@hawaii.gov.

MEO has a long standing relationship with Maui County farmers having operated the Hawaii-wide National Farmworkers Jobs Program and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Daly said.

For more information about business planning and micro loans offered by MEO, contact the Business Development Center at (808) 553-3270 by phone or david.daly@meoinc.org by email.

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