Bill would require 10% of Hawaii-bought produce to be local

HONOLULU — A bill in Hawaii that would require at least 10% of state-bought produce to be local has passed both the state House and Senate.

The bill introduced by Democratic state Rep. Scot Matayoshi will now head to Gov. David Ige’s desk for approval, KHON-TV reported Friday.

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The measure aims to ensure that state funds directly support local businesses.

“If our state is truly committed to reviving our agricultural industry and diversifying our economy, we need to put our money where our mouth is. That starts with supporting local farmers and weaning our state away from our dependence on tourism,” Matayoshi said.

The legislation, if approved by Ige, would mandate that a minimum of 10% of produce purchased by state departments be grown locally by 2025. That percentage requirement would increase every five years to 50% by 2050.

Each state department would be required to submit an annual report to the Legislature with the total of local produce purchased.

“We see the progress being made towards clean energy set years ago,” Matayoshi said. “This bill will set us on a similar path for both our local agricultural industry and food security.”

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Locally grown produce include fruits, nuts, coffee, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy and poultry products.

The governor has not yet indicated whether he will approve or veto the bill.

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