Legislative bill calls for audit of Hawaii agricultural parks – KITV Honolulu

HONOLULU (KITV4) — The House Agricultural Committee voted on Wednesday to advance two resolutions calling for an audit of the state’s 10 agricultural parks. A story KITV4 told you in early March is causing state legislators to take action.
Simeon Rojas is accusing the Kahuku Agriculture Park manager and the man who he leased land from of trying to get him to build a private aquaponic facility for them. He’s even got a temporary restraining order against the long term lease owner, for shutting off his water, twice.
Now he and State Rep. John Mizuno are trying to get the state parks audited to see what problems are out there at the parks and get them corrected. The result just might have an affect on the state’s food supply.
“This issue is hurting me. All I ask is they do the right thing. That’s what I live on in my army values,” said Rojas.

A former war veteran turned farmer has a new sort battle on his hands, the struggle to save his aquaponics farm in state-owned Kahuku Agricultural Park.
He is calling out to lawmakers to pass the two resolutions that call for an audit of the state’s agricultural parks and those who manage them.
“People are not using the ag land for agricultural purposes. The resolutions will confirm that. We are going to do the right thing and clean it up,” said Mizuno.
“We want the parks to be cleaned up. The people who are not farming, we want them removed off the land so that real farmers like Simeon and Cathy can have a chance,” said the Rojas’ attorney, Bosko Petricevic.
The state’s agriculture department issued a statement by Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, saying, “DOA believes adjudication of the pending legal matter should be completed prior to any audit.”
Gov. David Ige’s office issued a similar email to Mizuno, who is championing the cause.
In Ige’s statement, he said, “as you are aware there is a pending lawsuit on this dispute, and I trust the judiciary to resolve the issue.”
Mizuno, the Rojas, and their lawyer say this is not good enough.
“We want there to be an investigation out there. That’s the number one thing. We want them to go out there and look at it. If they thing we are not telling the truth, they should go look at the parks,” said Petricevic.
“Our main goal is to be sustainable. And food security. The only way we can get out of this hole is to work together. We have to do the right thing, and the right thing is not being done,” said Rojas.
The resolutions now head to the House Finance Committee. If the two bills pass through there, it then heads to the Senate.
Ige’s statement says increasing local food production is an important goal of his administration and thanks Mizuno for his interest in the matter.
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