UH Hilo Ag professor earns OHA grant

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Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A professor of agribusiness at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has received a grant of $39,924 from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). Dr. Sabry Shehata was awarded the grant for his development of a Website to assist Native Hawaiian farmers in the areas of management and marketing.

The Website helps overcome the complexities of conducting cost analysis and needs assessment, which has hampered the development of small farms in Hawai`i, according to Shehata. “The process can be cumbersome, arduous and expensive, which often forces farmers to pursue the equally expensive remedy of seeking a consultant to conduct an economic feasibility study,” he said.

In response, Shehata developed an “interactive cost of production” Website to train Native Hawaiian growers in the areas of business planning, enterprise budgeting, financial management, and sensitivity analysis along with direct e-commerce marketing. The Website helps analyze different scenarios, as well as a variety of crop choices.

Shehata’s Website helps small farmers do this at a fraction of the cost,and linking producers to buyers around the world will increase the chances for Native Hawaiian agribusiness owners to succeed in highly competitive markets. The OHA grant will provide funding support for ongoing Website development to assist Native Hawaiian non-profits and small businesses.

The project’s goals are to develop interactive cost of production software for taro, noni, and medicinal plants, to train small Hawaiian agribusiness owners about the use of the Website and how to market their products, to develop Websites for Hawaiian growers interested in marketing their products through e-commerce, and to train 30 Native Hawaiian agribusiness owners on the use of interactive computer programs in the areas of management and finance.

For more information about the Website,visit www.hawaiianagriculturalproducts.com or contact Shehata at (808) 933-0856.

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