Consumers including HPU students
can help save small farms that are struggling to survive in
today’s economy and directly support the farmer by shopping
at farmers’ markets across the island.
Farmers’ markets today are at risk because of the current economic crisis.
Farmers throughout the state have to deal with rising costs of diesel, fertilizer
and supplies to maintain their farms.
Eddie Sybouny a produce farmer from Kahuku thinks that these increases are serious
to the survival of small country farms. He predicts there will be at least 100
fewer farms by this time next year because of financial challenges.
“For one acre you need about one ton of fertilizer that costs about $3,000
now, and how much does the small farmer make? About $2000, how can we survive?” he
According to the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development,
world fertilizer prices have risen more than oil or any other commodities within
the last 18 months.
Because increase in price, Sybouny has tried to make his own fertilizer and supplies,
but he says he can’t do much because decrease in income.
Unlike supermarkets, consumers have the opportunity to meet the farmer face to
face at farmers’ markets.
Sybouny and his wife Touy have been selling produce like apple bananas, papaya,
cherry tomato, and lettuce at the North Shore Country Farmers’ Market for
“I like to grow my own vegetables and fruit, and I like to sell in the
open market straight to the people and talk to the people in my community,” Touy
said. “I think our produce is more healthy for them too because it’s
At the farmers’ market, the Sybouny’s sell a bag full of cherry tomatoes
and big papayas for $2 each. Foodland sells medium sized papayas cut and ready
to eat for about $2.29.
The Sybouny’s don’t sell to supermarkets because they don’t
get the full profit. “Stores are the middle man,” Sybouny said, “When
it says ‘local’ the consumer thinks that they are supporting the
farmer but the farmer only gets about 35 cents from every dollar.”
Sybouny feels that something needs to be done to help the small farmers.
“The best way to create awareness to the public is to show them what we
have. Let the public see; how farmers work, live, how they make money,” said
“That’s why we sell at the market to build relationships with our
customers, so they can meet their local farmers, because it is them that keeps
us afloat during these rough times.”