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October 21, 2003

Local Farmers Encouraged to Attend Meeting

HONOLULU - Norwegian Cruise Line, which is expanding its presence in Hawaii, is interested in purchasing fresh produce from Hawaii's farms. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is coordinating two meetings next week, one in Honolulu and one in Hilo, to assist the buyers from the cruise line to establish connections with local farmers and produce distributors.

The Miami-based cruise line plans to establish full operations at its Hawaii office and eventually operate four ships in the Hawaii market. Each ship hosts an average of 2,000 passengers plus crew and has 10 restaurants. Cruise ships are large consumers of agricultural products as dining represent a significant portion of a cruise shipÂ’s activity. To make passenger's dining experience exciting and flavorful, Norwegian Cruise LineÂ’s buyers would like to purchase fresh produce locally. The buyers are especially interested in basic produce products as well as tropical fruits, ethnic vegetables, herbs, and aquaculture products.

Farmers and distributors on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai are invited to attend the meeting in Honolulu on Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Department of Agriculture, Plant Quarantine Branch, 1849 Auiki Street (Sand Island).

For farmers and distributors located on the Big Island, the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29, 2003 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Sangha Hall, Honpa Hongwanji, 398 Kilauea Avenue, in Hilo.

"This is a great opportunity for Hawaii's farmers to promote their products and develop business relationships with a company with growing demand for fresh produce," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. "Cruise lines are known for fabulous meals and Norwegian's interest in buying local produce should make it a showcase for Hawaii agriculture." The Department of Agriculture and Marsha Wienert, the GovernorÂ’s Tourism Liaison, are working to make this a successful collaborative effort for HawaiiÂ’s agriculture and tourism industries.

For more information about the meetings, please contact HDOA's Market Development Division in Honolulu at 973-9595.