UH Hilo professor selected for Congressional exhibition

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Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Dr. Sabry Shehata, professor of agricultural economics at the University of Hawaii at HiloCollege of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, has been selected by the Board on Agricultural Assembly and Council on Governmental Affairs of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) to participate in the Eighth Annual Food and Agricultural Science and Education Exhibition/Reception, February 28, 2006, at the Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria in Washington, D.C.

Shehata’s exhibit, Linking Hawaiian Small Agribusiness to the World via the Worldwide Web, is one of 35 exhibits of cutting-edge science in federally-supported agricultural research and education selected from more than 200 proposals. Shehata is the only researcher in the University of Hawai‘i system presenting at the exhibition, which will be attended by members of both houses of the United States Congress and their staffs. Hawai‘i’s four-member congressional delegation has been invited to attend by UH Hilo Chancellor Dr. Rose Tseng.

“We are proud that Dr. Shehata will be demonstrating his online project for Congress,” Tseng said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for members of Congress and their advisors to see firsthand the innovation going on at UH Hilo and for us to secure federal funding to continue research to improve production and marketing of food and other agricultural crops in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Basin.”

Shehata’s Web site, Hawaiian Agricultural Products.com, was designed to help small growers market their products, estimate their cost of production and improve their management and marketing skills. The site currently lists growers’ Web sites by commodity and improves a grower’s chance of being found in search engines such as Google. The Web site also features interactive cost of production programs that estimate the cost of production tailored to each farm. These programs can be generalized for many different crops. Buyers can log in and order directly from participating growers.

Eventually, the Web site will house an e-commerce clearinghouse to improve distribution efficiency of Hawaiian products. It will also be used as a training site for native Hawaiian, rural, underprivileged high school students and their families to market their products and improve their chances for business success.

Hawaiian Agricultural Products.com is the first Web site of its kind to do this analysis and could be duplicated by other universities as a model to serve their community. For more information or a demonstration, visit http://hawaiianagriculturalproducts.com.

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