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Bill to Provide Hawaiʻi With Floriculture Research Funding

February 28, 2018, 8:21 AM HST (Updated February 28, 2018, 8:30 AM)
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Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i-02) and Colleen Hanabusa (Hawai‘i-01) have introduced the State Assistance for Tropical Floriculture Research Act of 2018 (H.R. 5066) to support floriculture research and development in Hawaiʻi and across the U.S.

The bill would authorize grants up to $250,000 annually for selected states to research and develop new and disease-resistant varieties of tropical flowers.

Hawaiʻi’s floriculture and nursery products—including cut flowers, orchids, lei flowers, potted flowering plants and more—are estimated to be valued at $74.5 million.

“Floriculture remains one of our most profitable agricultural sectors in Hawaiʻi, supporting hundreds of growers and processors across our islands,” said Rep. Gabbard. “The global floriculture market is becoming increasingly competitive, and we must support and empower our local growers. We also must ensure that our unique flora is protected from invasive species, diseases, and other threats. Our legislation will create opportunities for Hawaiʻi to lead the nation in floriculture research and development now, and for years to come.”

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“The floriculture and nursery community in Hawaiʻi is an important part of our agriculture industry and serves as a global marketplace,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. “The variety and colors of the flowers grown here coupled with the reliable supply created by our hard working growers attracts foreign and domestic customers, helping to showcase Hawaiʻi to the world. We need to support and help diversify our agriculture industry and this bill would help finance important floriculture research. The University of Hawaiʻi’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources [CTAHR] regularly works with the Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association and the State Department of Agriculture on research and programs and it is important to support that type of collaboration in Hawaiʻi and around the country.”

“The Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association (HFNA) appreciates Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s effort to establish a grant program for research and development of disease resistant varieties of tropical flowers and plants,” said Eric Tanouye, Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association president. “By directing the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to State departments of agriculture for this purpose will allow our industry to be more competitive and resilient in the global marketplace.”

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