Puna papaya farms attacked, one year after mass vandalism




KAPOHO, Hawaii: One year after 8,500 papaya trees were hacked down in Puna, another act of mass agricultural vandalism has occurred in the same area.

Hawaii County Police are once again reporting that 10 acres of papaya trees have been destroyed in three adjoining papaya fields. The farms are located on Alohalani in the Kapoho area, the same area where the papaya farm that was attacked last year is located.

Police say each property belonged to a separate owner. Additional adjoining papaya fields were left undamaged.

Police say sometime between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, the trees were cut, apparently with a machete. It was believed that a machete was used in last year’s vandalism as well.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation are continuing the investigation. The value of the damaged property is still under investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Acting Lieutenant Reed Mahuna at 961-2252. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

FILE VIDEO: July 2, 2010 – Papaya farmer wonders why crops were destroyed

One year ago: Puna farmer Laureto Julian talks about the day he made the heartwrenching discovery that his entire Kapoho papaya farm had been hacked down.

Police say the 8,500 papaya plants that were cut down, with the fruit still ripening on them, costing Julian and his family over $100,000. No arrests have been made.

In this interview, Julian wonders why someone – who he believes must have experience in tending papayas – would do such a thing.

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2 Responses

  1. carol

    The U of H started this mess, they need to clean it up.
    A ring spot virus forced Hawaii to use gmo papaya. By making it virus resistant. They said if you don’t do this there will be no “Commercial” papaya farming. That means ignoring ‘best practices’. They tried to do the same thing with the taro. But best practices prevailed.

    Farmers can’t even let a bird on their farm they might get cited. But hard to see pollen is okay. You perpetrators are within a quarter mile of these farms because thats as far as the gmo pollen will fly. Now those organic farmers won’t be able to label their foods “Organic”.

    Seventy percent of foods on the store shelf are genetically modified in someway. Other countries test for GE strains. Japan will not buy your gmo papaya. In a few years your papaya will be rocky, lumpy and tasteless. Even our beloved héritage solo Waimanalo papaya has been contaminated. Please media report all sides of this story.

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