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Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (WTAAC)

Success Stories

Sugar Cane Grower and Processor

The firm is Hawaii’s largest producer of raw sugar grown in Hawaii. It is also one of the largest employers on Maui, with over 770 employees. The company produces over 200,000 tons of raw sugar annually, accounting for approximately 60% of all sugar cane grown in Hawaii.

 Beginning in 1998 the company implemented major improvements to its farming and milling process to improve yield and lower costs. However, in 2000 sugar prices significantly decreased due to a surplus of sugar production, and increasing low cost imported raw sugar. As a direct result, despite these investments, annual sales decreased 12% and employment decreased 9%.

The company, with assistance from the University of Southern California’s Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (Western TAAC) became certified as trade impacted by the US Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Administration in December of 2000.

Western TAAC and the firm's management developed a strategy of being a premier producer of agricultural-based products through the utilization of modern technology, innovative thinking, and skilled employees. This strategy focuses on establishing itself as a low cost sugar producer, while capitalizing on opportunities to improve profitability by developing and expanding by-products, value-added products, alternate crops, and ag-based products.

The Company has successfully completed its 5th year in the implementation phase of the TAA Program. During this period the company, with Western TAAC assistance, implemented its production engineering project to improve the operating efficiency of its electrical power plant, and three marketing, sales and promotion projects to identify and launch potential new value added product lines. Since beginning its public/private sector partnership with the TAA for Firms Program, sales increased 26% to $97.3M and productivity increased 37% to $124,963 sales per employee.

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