Eco-terrorism suspected at HI papaya farm (KITV)‏

Sent: July 8, 2010 4:15:27 PM


KITV-TV4 (Honolulu, HI)
Eco-Terrorism Suspected At Papaya Farm
8,500 Trees Destroyed On Big Island Farm
July 2, 2010
http://www.kitv.com/news/24129994/detail.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

KAPOHO, Hawaii -- Laureto Julian said in his 30 years of papaya
farming he's never had something like this happen to him before. About
8,500 young papaya trees were chopped in half sometime Wednesday, the
fruit left on the ground. It's a loss of about $100,000 for Julian.

"I cry when I seen that place," said Julian. "I don't understand why
they do that to me."

One nonprofit bio-tech organization speculated eco-terrorists are
behind the destruction -- those who are against genetically-modified
crops.

The vandalism is eerily similar to the destruction at a papaya farm in
Mililani back in May. The bio-tech companies said the damage was too
calculated to be simply malicious youth.

Julian doesn't know who would do this to him, but he believes it's an
act of a jealous farmer, not eco-terrorism.

The president of the Papaya Industry Association agrees, especially
since Julian's farm is in a very isolated area of Kapoho.

"Why would anyone go through that much work just to cut someone's
papaya trees down and not have the publicity> I don't understand
that," said Kamiya.

Kamiya said nearly all papaya farmers in Hawaii are growing
genetically modified Rainbow papayas, developed in 1998 to resist the
devastating ring spot virus.

"Since 1998, we've been selling papayas in the marketplace, millions
and millions of pounds, and not one bad thing, no complaint about it,"
said Kamiya. "It's completely safe and it's delicious."
Jerry Punzal thinks two young men are behind the vandalism on his
Mililani farm, but police have not yet made an arrest in the case.

Julian said he hopes someone will come forward with information at his
farm that will put whoever did this behind bars.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 808-961-8300
in Hilo and 808-329-8181 in Kona.
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Mac Leod Motto