Compared with other states, Hawaii is unique in the great importance of military installations and military expenditures to the state’s economy. Camp Smith, on the island of Oahu, is headquarters for Marine Forces Pacific, the unified U.S. military command for the entire Pacific. Other principal military installations in the state are the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base, Wheeler Air Force Base, Lualualei Naval Magazine, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, and the Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter military reservations, all on Oahu; and Barking Sands Missile Range on Kauai. Military expenditures for construction, maintenance, and payrolls are an integral part of business life in Hawaii. In addition, an important factor in the economy of Hawaii is the purchasing power of the military personnel stationed there and their dependents.
In 2008 there were 7,500 farms in Hawaii. Farmland occupied 449,201 hectares (1,110,000 acres), of which 16 percent was cropland. The rest was mostly pasture. Some 33 percent of the cropland was irrigated.
For years sugarcane was Hawaii’s most important crop, and pineapple was the second most important farm product. Now the two are of roughly equal value to the farm economy. Most of Hawaii’s sugarcane, pineapples, and livestock are raised on a few very large plantations and ranches. Although small farms are numerous, especially on Oahu, they occupy only a very small area of cropland. The only significant commercial crop produced for export on the small farms is coffee, which is grown in the Kona district in the western part of the island of Hawaii and on plantations on Kauai. Vegetables, fruit, and taro are cultivated mainly for local use.
Pineapples were Hawaii’s leading crop by value in 1997, surpassing for the first time the income produced by sugarcane. While the production of pineapple decreased steadily during the 1990s, an increase in farm prices for pineapple made it Hawaii’s most valuable crop. The Hawaiian Islands once produced more than 40 percent of the world’s supply of canned pineapple and more than 70 percent of its pineapple juice. Production began to decline in the 1960s as companies closed their operations in Hawaii and developed new and more profitable ones in Asia. Pineapple acreage, which was 29,900 hectares (73,800 acres) in 1961, dropped to 8,100 hectares (19,900 acres) in the late 1990s. Pineapple is grown mostly on large plantations on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Although the fruit is picked by hand, machines do much of the planting and processing.
Much of the pineapple crop is grown on hilly land. Pineapples can be grown on relatively thin soils, but pineapple crops require more irrigation than sugarcane, and fertilizers usually have to be used.
The production of sugarcane, long the leading agricultural product of Hawaii, decreased dramatically during the 1990s. In 1997 it remained, however, the second most valuable crop to the state’s economy. Sugarcane is grown mainly on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu, primarily on the more arid, leeward side of the islands in irrigated fields. The sugarcane harvest varies from year to year, leaving the industry in a state of flux much of the time. The sugar plantations are nearly all large and highly mechanized. The sugarcane harvests are from April to September but utilize the available labor force on a year-round rather than a seasonal basis. Each field of cane is allowed to mature for 22 to 24 months, compared with the 12-month growing period elsewhere in the United States. The longer growing period results in a high concentration of sugar in the cane.
Hawaii has made a strong effort to diversify its agriculture, which used to depend exclusively on sugarcane and pineapples. Coffee, grown primarily along the western coast of Hawaii Island, is a major export crop. Coffee production declined considerably in the 1960s and 1970s but began to recover in the mid-1980s. By the late 1990s the land area devoted to coffee cultivation had nearly tripled. In the same period, flowers, especially orchids, and macadamia nuts increased in importance as exports. Papayas, bananas, and a wide variety of vegetables are grown on small farms on Oahu, primarily for local consumption. Guavas and passion fruit, although also consumed locally, are becoming increasingly important as exports. "Hawaii" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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