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The Dire Cost of Disinformation
By Joni Kamiya @ 6:58 PM :: 1491 Views :: Environment, Agriculture, GMOs

The Dire Cost of Disinformation

by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, May 8, 2024

Back in 2013, the very first coconut rhinoceros beetle was detected here in Hawaii. That was 11 years ago and our Hawaii Department of Agriculture was aware of this biosecurity issue. However, the leadership of our state and counties were focused on something else:  

GMOs then pesticides.

Our own politicians were hell-bent of putting in some kind of regulation about this so-called danger despite all the evidence to the contrary. Even out governor-to-be former Senator Josh Green was rubbing elbows with this entire campaign. They were afraid of the anti-GMO activists and were swayed by emotional cries and afraid of losing their seats. Meanwhile, the organic industry funded activists like Ashley Lukens were going to Neighborhood Board meeting and spreading her disinformation across the state to fuel anger towards the agriculture community.

So began this blog in attempt to bring a voice for the many farmers and others rolled up into the swell. I was deemed as the evil enemy and faced so much hate for trying to give a voice to ag but deep in my heart, I knew that if nothing was said, we stood to lose everything given the emotional swell happening in our state. I chose to take the wrath and hate to speak for truth.

It is now over a decade since I began this journey and the entire state is seeing and feeling the unintended consequences of listening to the squeaky wheels who have now fled our communities. The money pit has dried up and these activists have no incentive to continue their tirade but the effects of their misdirection is all too clear.

Where are the folks that claimed to love our islands now that entire communities are being ravaged by the coconut rhinoceros beetle? We need their passion and voice as well as their labor to take care of our environment! They are all gone.

My blood boils when I see politicians trying point fingers at the Department of Agriculture for this problem. How dare some of these anti-GMO panderers accuse them of this problem when they steered policy in the wrong direction to begin with? They are fully culpable in all of this and to only now claim that biosecurity is a priority is too late.

What good did those increased pesticide registries do now? What good did those buffer zone rules do? What did GMO labeling do for the local folks? What did the hundreds of thousands of dollars on pesticide testing do for our communities? What good did the March Against Monsanto do to protect our islands? What did we accomplish with this whole anti-GMO protests?


Hindsight is 20/20 that invasive species should have been the focus all along and funding of the research to go with it was a necessity. All of agriculture and our efforts towards food security may go out the door at the rate these beetles are fast multiplying. It may take a disaster to make people realize why we need to have evidence-based policy making and that disaster is here.



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