It’s been a tough couple of months for farmers in Hawaii.

Under the cover of night, thousands of papaya trees were felled on the Big Island in July, likely with machetes.

On Maui, seven goats — Alyss, Sadie, Keawe, Latte, Maxine, Dopio and Spreckles — were kidnapped from Surfing Goat Dairy. The owners are offering a $5,000 reward for each goat.

Eco-terrorism was on the agenda at the Board of Agriculture’s monthly meeting in Honolulu on Tuesday. The state is looking into ways to combat the problem, which is not isolated to the two incidents, according to William Aila, director of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

“I think what is happening is many people resign themselves to the fact that, ‘Oh well, someone ripped me off, nothing is going to happen,'” Aila said. He added that there was a general sentiment that law enforcement was unresponsive to the problem, prompting farmers not to report crimes.

He said the state was looking into increasing penalties for such offenses, supporting more neighborhood watch organizations and working with law enforcement officials.

Also under consideration was creating a website where farmers could report ‘ag’ crimes.

“As more of these crimes come to light, there is more momentum,” said Aila.

Douglas MacCluer, director of Haliimaile Pineapple Co on Maui said he also struggled with the problem.

“The pineapples are stolen from our fields and primarily sold in farmers markets,” MacCluer told Civil Beat. He estimated that more than a pick-up truck’s worth of fruit a day was being carted off the 1,350-acre farm.


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