Bill puts Maui’s agriculture industry at risk

I would like to express serious concerns regarding the genetically modified organism/pesticide bill as it will have significant negative impacts to Maui County’s agricultural industry.

Currently, any farmer wanting to use restricted pesticides must past a series of classes and exams to prove competency before being licensed to purchase. Once licensed, farmers must follow the guidelines of the Worker Protection Standards, be subjected to inspections by the Department of Agriculture under the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency, and keep exact records of field numbers and area, chemical used and date and time applied. These farmers already face fines or, worst yet, have their crops destroyed if they are out of compliance.

Farming in Hawaii is not a highly profitable profession. Most of us do it for the love of our land and the pride in growing what we do. Now the county wants to add another layer of additional paperwork and cost to an already lean profit margin? What is this bill supposed to accomplish? There is already a burden on the farmers to use these chemicals properly. All this bill will do is open up speculation and litigation from people who have no knowledge or understanding of the use of chemicals, people who know nothing about what it takes to grow crops and from those who attribute any of their symptoms to having been caused by pesticides.

I do not see any purpose for this bill other than to drive agriculture out of Maui.

Harry H. Hashimoto