Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022 |
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A map of the development from a 2019 environmental assessment.
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will break ground this week on a new subsistence agriculture project in Honomu.
The Honomu Subsistence Agriculture Homestead Community is a planned development of 375 subsistence agriculture parcels across 766 acres to be leased to DHHL beneficiaries.
DHHL spokesman Cedric Duarte said groundbreaking on the first phase of construction, consisting of 16 one-acre lots, will begin Friday.
Although Duarte said Monday that he does not know how long construction of the first phase will take, an environmental assessment for the project, completed in 2019, estimated that the first leases could be awarded the same year as construction begins, with 30% of the lots awarded within eight years, and the rest by 2032.
The 375 one-acre lots account for only about half of the full Homestead Community. The full project consists of 766 acres, with the remainder set aside for community usage such as an orchard, a supplemental agriculture field, several conservation zones that buffer the community from surrounding land, and a small commercial area.
Currently, most of the area set aside for the project is former sugar plantation land and cattle grazing pasture. The location, adjacent to Akaka Falls State Park, was chosen because the quality of the soil and high rainfall make it well-suited for agriculture.
As a subsistence agriculture project, lessees would be required to begin actively cultivating food crops, livestock or both on the lot awarded to them within three years.
Duarte said work on the remaining 359 lots will commence “when funding is available.” The first phase of the project will cost about $2 million in state funds.
Lessees for the project will be selected based on the amount of time spent on the DHHL waitlist, which as of March was 28,700 people, 10,651 of which are from the Big Island.
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