The partnership helps advance Hawaii food sustainability by funding local feed mill
HONOLULU —Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) and Ulupono Initiative announced today the expansion of their year-old partnership, in anticipation of the groundbreaking for the research feed mill facility that aims to tackle the vital issue of Hawaii's local food security.
As part of its mission to increase the state's local food production, Ulupono Initiative is investing a total of $2 million to help finance HPU's research feed mill, slated for construction on Hawaii Island. The long-planned project is spearheaded by the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI), a directed research unit of the university.
Hawaii's isolation as an island state makes food security a priority for its residents. Currently, 85-90 percent of the state's food is imported, making it particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and global events that disrupt shipping and food supply chains. Nearly all of Hawaii's animal feed is imported. For local animal producers, feed is the single largest operational cost.
“Hawaii's aquaculture and livestock industries play a critical role in the food security and resilience of our state, but they are threatened by the volatility of feed, fuel and fertilizer,” said Kyle Datta, general partner of Ulupono Initiative. “We believe OI's feed mill will be a positive step in helping to stabilize feed supplies and prices for our local ranchers, and chicken, hog and dairy farmers.”
Through this innovative feed mill project, OI researchers will create feed for animals—including cattle, poultry, and fish—incorporating co-products from local agriculture and biofuels industries and waste streams from local slaughterhouses and fish processing plants. Once formulated to meet each animal’s specific nutritional needs, the feed will be tested on a scale relevant to Hawaii farmers.
“Currently at our OI-HPU Makapuu campus, we have a small, research feed mill for tropical and subtropical aquatic animals,” said Shaun Moss, OI-HPU executive director. “This partnership with Ulupono Initiative provides an unparalleled opportunity for us to produce commercial quantities of terrestrial and aquatic animal feed using locally sourced ingredients to support local food production for our communities.”
Ulupono Initiative's investment funds the installation equipment necessary to automate the plant, making it more productive, efficient and economically viable. If successful, the mill would catalyze development of commercial feed mills in Hawaii. The long-run competitiveness of Hawaii-based beef, dairy, poultry, fish, and hogs are dependent on local feed availability.
“Feed represents 70 to 80 percent of the costs of raising an animal, and feed prices have nearly doubled since 2009, forcing many Hawaii producers to cease operations,” said Datta. “By investing in this feed mill, which is capable of supporting pre-commercial feed trials, Ulupono seeks to help lower feed costs with a locally produced alternative to imported feed that will improve the financial viability for Hawaii's aquaculture and livestock producers.”
The feed mill is supported by the USDA, the Hawaii State Departments of Agriculture and Land and Natural Resources, and private donors. Datta remarks, “We view the feed mill project as demonstration of the importance of public and private partnerships in moving Hawaii forward and are grateful to the leadership of Board of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright for his continued support and ability to work closely with the federal government.”
About Hawaii Pacific University
Celebrating 50 years, Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) is the state's leading independent, non-profit university with a dedicated and accomplished faculty, and a student population recognized as among the most diverse in the nation. With its core campus in the heart of Honolulu's business district, and campuses at Makapuu Point, Kaneohe and Oahu military bases, HPU gives students a distinct blend of small class sizes, hands-on learning opportunities, and global perspectives. HPU offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs for those seeking an educational adventure in the center of the Pacific Rim. www.HPU.edu
About Ulupono Initiative
Ulupono Initiative is a Hawaii-focused impact investing firm that uses for-profit and non-profit investments to improve the quality of life for island residents in three areas – locally produced food; clean, renewable energy; and waste reduction. To learn more, please visit www.ulupono.com or follow @ulupono on Twitter.
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