Thursday, November 5, 2009

End Of An Era

Maui Land & Pineapple Company, one of the state's last & largest pineapple producers is the latest casualty of Hawaii's strapped economy. In an announcement made earlier this week, MLP said they would cease all pineapple operations by the end of this year. The plantation shutdown will further increase the growing number of unemployed workers here on the Valley Isle with layoffs numbering 285 employees. These unemployed will not only include the field workers, but also workers in the company's Kahului cannery and fresh fruit distribution operations, conservation and critical watershed management teams and office administrators. 

Earlier today, further information was released about the company's dire financial condition, claiming losses of $92.9 million this year alone. You can read the full story here.

During the past several years, plantation operations had already undergone severe cutbacks, especially in the West Maui/Honolua Plantations, where agricultural lands have been taken out of production and developed as luxury home sites. Further taxing the company's viability was the demolition of the old Kapalua Bay Hotel and the construction on that site of a luxury condominium project and spa, the condominium development a joint venture with Ritz Carlton Hotels.

Both Maui Land & Pineapple Company, and it's resort arm, Kapalua Land Company have been long-term, steady & loyal clients for the past 20 years. This week's news brings further cause for an increasing feeling of fear & loathing for the immediate future. 

Pineapple has long been identified with Hawaii and the Kapalua Resort has long been, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all of Maui's destination resort areas. Let's hope and pray they continue to exist.

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