11 Waiahole Valley farmers sign amended leases with Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation
From left, Mahiai O Waiahole farmers Nick Reppun, Kaanapu Jacobsen, Kalai Miller and John Reppun speak after signing their new agricultural lease agreements. (Courtesy HHFDC)

In a move to ensure farmers are able to continue growing crops in Waiahole Valley, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) signed amended lease agreements with 11 lessees for below-market rents through 2038.

The 11 farmers, who refer to themselves as Mahiaʻi O Waiahole, agreed to rent increases of $100 per acre per year, to $200 per acre annually, and agreed to submit quarterly summaries of notable farm activities in compliance with HHFDC monitoring.

HHFDC interim executive director Dean Minakami said in a news release that the formula used to calculate the agreed-to rents will serve as a basis to complete unresolved negotiations with 24 other farmers leasing agricultural lots in the valley.

“The State of Hawaii acquired Waiahole Valley over 40 years ago to preserve its rural and agricultural qualities,” Minakami said. “The agreements reached today recognize the efforts of farmers who have helped the State realize this vision.”

Nani Medeiros, chief housing officer for the State of Hawaiʻi, also expressed support for the new agreement.

“We are thrilled that we were able to support our Waiahole farmers’ wish to secure affordable leases,” she said in the release. “HHFDC is a valued state agency providing [housing] and supporting local farmers. The Governor’s Office recognizes and commends Dean, Chief Planner Chris Woodward and the entire team for their diligence and commitment aligning with Kiaʻāna Green’s housing priorities.”

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