WAILUKU - Mayor Alan Arakawa recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Monsanto, obtaining assurances from the company that it will engage in safe practices involving restricted-use pesticides.
The MOU comes after bills were passed in Kauai and Hawaii counties involving restrictions on the use of pesticides.
While watching what was happening in other counties, Maui County decided to approach Monsanto - which has farms on both Maui and Molokai - to require disclosure of the company's restricted-use pesticides and all information about related practices.
Mayor Alan Arakawa said the “Maui County AG Oversight Agreement” will help provide some much-needed information to the public without putting financial burdens on taxpayers or opening the county up to costly lawsuits.
The company readily complied and signed an agreement being referred to as the Maui County AG Oversight Agreement (AGOA).
The AG Oversight Agreement states that Monsanto must:
1) Disclose details on the restricted-use pesticides that are being used here, including the types, amounts used and the number of acres treated;
2) Provide information about its stewardship measures related to pesticide technologies, fugitive dust and soil erosion;
3) Strictly adhere to all federal and state pesticide-use requirements; and
4) Meet quarterly with Maui County regarding the use of pesticides and other issues the community may have.
"Responsible use of pesticides is a concern for us all, especially for those of us who grew up on these islands when sugar cane and pineapples were our main exports," said Mayor Arakawa.
"There must be safeguards and a sharing of information, and I believe the AG Oversight Agreement is a proactive step we needed to take in providing both for our community."
The County of Maui is also working with Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar (HC&S) on a similar MOU agreement.