Hawaii’s last sugar-plantation to get out of the industry by the end of 2016
Alexander & Baldwin Inc., the only sugar plantation Hawaii has left, announced Wednesday that it will stop producing sugar by the end of 2016.
The plantation's getting out of the sugar business signals the end of an industry that contributed a big amount to the island's economy and beckoned thousands of immigrants to work in Aloha. According to Business Insider, the sugar-plantation's 36,000 acre land in Maui will be divided to smaller factions that will be used for growing food crops and biofuel. Some of the land will also be used for raising cattle.
The former chairman of A&B's board of directors, Walter A. Dods Jr., said, "They tried hard to keep farming and sugar on Maui and have had a long tradition of working with the people of Maui. It was gut wrenching over the years. A&B was barely breaking even or sometime having losses."
The Pacific Business News reported that major Hawaii businessmen and politicians responded to this issue. Governor David Ige said that this is "the end of an era that touched the lives of generations of hardworking, local families."
Meanwhile, Senator Mazie Hirono, said that it shows how the agriculture in Hawaii "continues to evolve." Senator Brian Schatz said he will honor the legacy that this generation has left by providing opportunities for those affected by the end of an industry.
PR Newswire wrote that A&B will support the affected employees by providing transition coordinators to help them find alternate job opportunities. The coordinators will coordinate with state, federal, county, and even private job programs.
The sugar-plantation will also provide its workers with better severance and benefit packages. Employees, retirees, and former employees who are eligible for retirement benefits will still get what's due for them. The company may also transition displaced employees to the new operations in its farms.