WAILUKU >> A $2.5 million grant program in Hawaii has assisted 105 small farms across Maui County with a range of equipment, supplies and website development support.
Maui County’s Agricultural Micro Grants Program, which is administered by the private nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity, has provided 105 grants for farming operations that cultivate fruit, vegetables, livestock, Native Hawaiian plants and medicinal plants, the Maui News reported Thursday.
The newspaper reported that the money has been used for farming equipment and machinery; processing and storage equipment; farm expansion; supplies, including fertilizers, seeds, plants and small tools; packing and packaging materials; marketing services, including website development; health and safety upgrades; and professional development and education.
Payments for the grant program have been made directly to vendors, according to Maui Economic Opportunity.
The organization said it received more than 220 grant applications from October through January. Maui Economic Opportunity Business Center Director David Daly said there are more than 80 applicants wait-listed.
Small farms can receive grants for up to $25,000. To qualify, farms had to have state general excise tax numbers and their owners were required to reside in Maui County.
Preference was given to historically underprivileged applicants, such as women and Native Hawaiians. Farms that produce food and operate on fewer 12 acres were also prioritized for grants.