US (HI): Growers report nearly $28M in damages caused by eruption

Less than 50 Big Island farmers reported nearly $28 million in total agricultural damages in a survey of farmers affected by the Kilauea eruption.

Beginning in August, the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources conducted a survey of farmers affected by the Kilauea eruption. The 46 respondents reported that they had collectively lost approximately $27.9 million in destroyed property.

A statement by the Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, which requested the University conduct the survey, advised that the data from the survey is not “all-inclusive” but provides a snapshot of how devastating the eruption was for the island’s agricultural industries.

The survey found that $13.3 million of the reported damages were from the floriculture industry, with another $6.5 from the papaya industry and $2.5 from the macadamia nut industry.

Eric Tanouye, president of the Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, said the Kapoho region, now mostly buried in lava, had ideal conditions for orchid growers. After the eruption, Tanouye estimated that 10 percent of the Association’s roughly 300 statewide members had been affected.

Read more at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Michael Brestovansky)

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