IN THE NEWS // Mainland drought affects local produce supply, prices

KHON2 has been telling you how recent storms have put a damper on farms and local crops.

Now we’ve learned that local distributors can’t turn to mainland farmers for a lot of help, so many stores have a limited supply of produce.

That means some local shoppers are leaving grocery stores carrying lighter bags.

“I wanted watercress (but it wasn’t in stock),” said shopper Roy Nakamura. “It’s been several times already, so I found out why, because of the rain.”

The recent storms have flooded local farms, damaging crops. Farmers are reporting a huge decline in produce.

Local distributors can’t fully depend on mainland farmers either.

Distributors like Armstrong Produce said weather issues in places like Mexico and California are only adding to the problems we have here.

“We source a great deal of product of course from the California area and as you all have probably all heard, the drought and the lack of water has been really impacting them,” said Tish Uyehara with Armstrong Produce.

Local distributors say they have a limited supply of produce, including lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, watercress, Asian greens such as bok choy, and some fruits.

The vegetables they do have may not be perfect.

“The choices will be different, the quality, and the sizing may be impacted,” Uyehara said. “Prices will also definitely go up, yes.”

If Mother Nature continues to affect local and mainland farmers, experts believe prices could increase as much as 30 percent.

“As prices go up, are you willing to pay?” KHON2 asked.

“If it’s local, yes, most definitely, why wouldn’t you? Support the local farmers all the way,” said shopper Brad Goda.

“Yeah, I’ll pay. I’m not going to grumble, I have to eat,” Nakamura said.

Even if the weather returns to normal, it could take awhile for farmers and their crops to follow.

“Until he can go back in to replant, we have to wait several months, potentially for that crop to come up,” Uyehara said.

Source: KHON2