HONOLULU, HI – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) toured the facilities of local businesses in West Oahu, starting with MA'O Farms in Waianae, followed by Aloha Shoyu in Kapolei.
The Senator began her day with a visit to the MA'O Farms Waianae Community Post-Harvest Processing Facility, where she toured the current facility and spoke with staff and student interns who were sorting and packing fresh produce. MA'O Farms is a local, organic farm and nonprofit organization that grows produce for local vendors and businesses. They also teach youth and other members of the community about improving health and nutrition, developing the local agriculture industry, and promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency.
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we support our local farmers and businesses,” said Senator Hirono. “MA'O Farms promotes nutrition and sustainability in every aspect of their operations—from growing their own produce, to working with local vendors, and developing the next generation’s leaders in sustainable agriculture while teaching our communities about using local produce to lead healthier lives. I‘m proud to have worked to secure nearly $900,000 in federal aid for MA'O Farms in this year’s appropriations process. This funding will enable the creation of a new processing facility, and allow the farm to expand its operations and further advance its mission of developing a comprehensive local food system here in Hawaii.”
Following the visit to MA'O Farms, Senator Hirono headed to Aloha Shoyu’s bottling facility in Kapolei, where she met with the Vice Presidents of the company and spoke with them about how the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages have impacted their business, and how they are working to address and recover from these challenges.
“Since the start of the pandemic, small businesses like Aloha Shoyu have worked—and continue to work—hard to remain resilient and overcome many obstacles,” said Senator Hirono. “Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses across Hawaii—including Aloha Shoyu—received millions in federal funds which have enabled them to stay afloat during these unprecedented times. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Small Business Committee to support and advocate on behalf of local businesses in Hawaii and across the country.”
As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Hirono has worked to secure federal support for Hawaii’s small businesses and nonprofits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic—including through new programs like the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Since the beginning of the pandemic, PPP has provided nearly $800 billion in forgivable loans to 11.8 million businesses and nonprofits in the United States, including $3.8 billion to 45,000 businesses and nonprofits in Hawaii—providing a lifeline for companies like Aloha Shoyu. Last year, Senator Hirono urged SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman to ensure SBA was prioritizing pandemic relief for small businesses like these.