Release: August 12, 2005
FEDERAL FUNDS AWARDED FOR FARMER OUTREACH PROJECT
HONOLULU - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $300,000 to the Pacific Gateway Center (PGC) to help farmers on Oahu and Big Island connect with existing agricultural programs, especially farmers who are not be fluent in English.
PGC will work with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), the Agribusiness Development Corporation and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to help farmers obtain information and assistance from a variety of state and federal agencies. The outreach effort will focus on four primary areas of concern, including access to credit, food safety certification and procedures, farmland availability and agricultural theft.
“We are pleased with the funding of this project that will reach an underserved segment of our agricultural community,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson for the Board of Agriculture. “For many immigrant farmers communication and cultural barriers prevent them from seeking available government and community resources. This project will enable them to access every available opportunity to help their businesses succeed.”
PGC was established in 1973 in response to the increase of Asian and Pacific Island immigrants to Hawaii. The agency has extensive experience providing services in over 10 different languages in the areas of business and finance, housing, health, education and employment.
“This project is in line with our work experience,” said Dr. Tin Myaing Thein, PGC Executive Director. “It will allow us to reach out to even more individuals who are not aware of or who may not have the skills to seek out available agricultural programs.”
In 2004, USDA awarded 22 competitive grants for the same program, totaling more than $5.9 million. In that round, the University of Hawaii system received three of the 22 grant awards, providing assistance for farming groups including Molokai native Hawaiians, Micronesians, and Filipino immigrants.
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