The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Market Development Branch is currently accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) Fiscal Year 2021 – COVID. The HDOA will be awarding $500,000 to Hawai`i proposals that enhance the competitiveness of Hawai`i specialty crops. This additional funding was provided by the U.S. Congress due to COVID-19 impacts on the food system. Under the program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allocated funding to each state based on the value of the specialty crops produced in the state.
Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Much of Hawai`i’s diversified agriculture falls under this specialty crop designation. Eligible plants must be cultivated or managed and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops.
The primary goal of this grant program is to support projects that could provide the highest measurable benefits or return on investment to the specialty crop segment in Hawai`i. Projects must enhance the competitiveness of Hawai`i-grown specialty crops in either the domestic or foreign markets. Preference will be given to projects that measurably increase the production and/or consumption of specialty crops and/or foster the development of fledging crops and organic operations.
Information on the Request for Proposals (RPF22-06-MDB) is available on the State Procurement Office website at hands.ehawaii.gov. The application deadline is noon on June 24, 2022.
Last year, HDOA awarded a total of $430,600 to 10 projects ranging from pest management for the coffee production, floriculture marketing, ti leaf propagation, a training program for food preservation, and programs to help the cultivation of several vegetable and fruit crops, including taro, mamaki, cacao, Chinese and mustard cabbage, and tomatoes.
More information on the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is available at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp.
For more information:
Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
Tel.: +1 (808) 973-9560