Alexander & Baldwin sells Maui sugarcane lands for $262M

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A former sugarcane grower has sold its 64 square miles of Maui farm land to a farming venture for $262 million.

Alexander & Baldwin and Mahi Pono announced in a statement Thursday the sale of former Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. lands.

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Mahi Pono is a venture between California-based Pomona Farming and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

The deal includes Alexander & Baldwin’s energy crop project, the Kulolio Ranch and Central Maui Feedstocks.

Mahi Pono is also assuming all of A&B’s diversified agricultural leases, and it is partnering with A&B to operate the East Maui Irrigation Co.

The venture is planning to maintain agricultural uses for the land. Maui Pono plans to cultivate crops including coffee, fruits and vegetables to sell locally and export, the venture said.

“With our purchase of this fertile land, we want to help ensure that Maui’s residents can produce agricultural products for future generations,” Mahi Pono President Ann Chin said in a statement. “We want to expand Maui’s thriving and diversified agriculture industry.”

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Alexander & Baldwin grew sugarcane on Maui for about 150 years. When it halted sugar operations in 2016, the company tried to find a partner to diversify the agricultural uses of the land, said Chris Benjamin, the company’s president and CEO.

“We acknowledged that this transition would take time, but could support the important goals of food and energy self-sufficiency for Hawaii, preserve productive agricultural lands, and stimulate new economic activity on Maui and in the state,” Benjamin said in a statement.

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