Hawaii Real Estate Resource


Kauai sugar cane harvests to end

Gay & Robinson announced this week that late October would mark the end of sugar cane production on Kauai.  All other companies had previously exited the business so this is the end for what was once Kauai's main agricultural crop.  Annual burning of sugar cane fields as shown in the photo produced widespread smoke and ash but it was accepted because of the desire to keep much of the island's land in agriculture.  Perhaps it is fitting that there is a partial rainbow over the smoke in the photo below.

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Photo of sugar cane burning for harvest

There is still a possibility that sugar cane could be grown in the future for production of ethanol fuels but the infrastructure for that is not currently in place.  Source of this information is today's Garden Island Newspaper.

Many are surprised to learn that the new dominate crop is seed corn.  However this is much smaller in scale and does not need the extensive acreage of sugar cane.  Also, there is local resistance to this business because of fears about genetic modification so the jury is still out on its future. 


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Comment balloon 4 commentsRichard T. Dolbeare • September 24 2009 09:55AM


That's a shame to hear.  I loved seeing the old sugar cane factory as I drove from Lihue to Koloa and Poipu.  When I was in Maui earlier this month, I was happy to see the active harvesting of the sugar cane fields.  Sure, there is a lot of foul smelling smoke and steam, dirt on the roads from the trucks, and some traffic congestion - but it was nice to see none the less.  With tourism on the Islands falling to record lows, it's great to see that agriculture is still a viable industry on these beautiful islands.


Posted by Martin Kalisker, Professional Standards & Legal Assistant (Greater Boston Association of REALTORS) over 9 years ago

I have only been to Kauai as a tourist years ago, but I was lucky enough to meet a local that took me out bike riding around a bit.  The fields, the factory, and if I recall correctly, a big pile of "leftovers" were all very interesting to see.

So did cheaper beet sugar have a bearing on this?

Posted by Judith Reppert (United Country Countryside Realty) over 9 years ago

I see that both of you are familiar with our island and with tourism down, this could be a good time to visit again.

The reason for closing boils down to being a money-losing operation.  That's because of low sugar prices and high fuel costs.  I don't think beet sugar is being substituted but rather that of foreign supplies.


Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 9 years ago

awesome photo Richard - We've never been to Kauai but it's on our list :) Can't believe corn (which is abundant in NW Indiana)  is the new dominate crop!



Posted by Jeff&Grace Safrin, SpousesSellingHousesTM (F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate) over 9 years ago

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