An article in the StarAdvertiser.com March 17 reported that the lease rent negotiations between farmers and landowner Kamehameha Schools in East Oahu’s Kamilo Nui Valley are still in the talking stage and have not gone into arbitration. The leases came up for renegotiation July, 2010.
"Kamilo Nui Valley farmers were initially offered a proposal that would increase their lease from $200 an acre per year to about $5,000 an acre per year, according to the tenants and landlord. Farmer Glenn Nii, representing his family including his father and mother, said a different proposal by Kamehameha Schools is on the table." He said 10 farmers have joined as a group to negotiate, and half of the families have members in their 80s and 90s.
According to the article, Nii said that "Besides lease rents, farmers face other costs, including insurance and labor. He doesn’t think the 25-fold increase for farmers is reasonable, even though residential rents are considerably higher. 'If a quart of milk costs $1 about 40 years ago, does it cost $25 today?' he said."
The older farmers have been leasing land from KSBE for 60 years, and just want to live out their lives on their land. Nii and others feel the estate should consider the sustainability of agriculture and its value to the community. Many residents in Hawaii Kai support them, hoping to stop future large-scale development in the scenic Kamilo Nui valley.
Barbara Abe, Realtor