The Aloha State enjoys a yearround growing season, with multiple harvests annually. Last year, the Hawaiian island of Kauai passed genetically modified organism (GMO) farming restrictions, but they were overturned in court. Now, Maui County, which includes the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai, has approved a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified crops.
The majority of Monsanto’s GMO corn seed sold to farmers in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. comes from its Maui operation. If the law stands, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, another biotech firm with operations in Maui County, will need to seek alternatives.
Lawsuits have already been filed by both opponents of the ban and proponents that want rigorous enforcement built in. Michael Lilly, former attorney general of Hawaii, expects the new law to be struck down like the previous Kauai attempt on grounds that state law supersedes it, although appeals in that case are underway. Meanwhile, an injunction has stalled the whole process.
The message from anti-GMO forces is that although giant firms have deep pockets and many options, staunch determination to stem the tide of GMO crops worldwide may eventually bear the sweet fruit of victory.