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Hawaii's last sugar plantation to lay off all 675 workers, shutting down business

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 1:17 AM
This April 27, 2010 file photo shows structures on the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar plantation in Puunene, Hawaii. Hawaii's last sugar plantation is getting out of the sugar-growing business.

HONOLULU (AP):

Hawaii's last sugar plantation is getting out of the sugar-growing business, signalling the end of an industry that once powered the local economy and lured thousands of immigrants to the islands.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc said yesterday that it will phase out sugar by the end of 2016.

Its 36,000 acre-Maui plantation will be divided into smaller farms to grow biofuels and food crops.

Some of the land will be irrigated to supply pasture to local cattle ranchers.

The company says all 675 people who work for its Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar subsidiary will be laid off.

About half will be retained through the end of this year's sugar harvest.

"This is a sad day for A&B, and it is with great regret that we have reached this decision," Christopher Benjamin, CEO of Alexander and Baldwin, said in a news release.