21 Apr 2010

Hawaii farm to row maile vine commercially

3:08 pm on 21 April 2010

A farm on the island of Hawaii has plans to grow the tropical maile vine commercially for the first time.

Ka Mahiai Ihi o Wailea, which means sacred farm of Wailea, plans to grow thousands of maile plants indoors this year.

Some florists in Hawaii say it is often only grown in the wild and on steep mountains and is difficult to source, so importing it from the Cook Islands is still popular.

The farm's manager, Kealii Lum, says even with overseas markets and plans to increase production, there is still going to be a shortage.

"Right now it takes about twelve to fourteen months to grow so we have about twenty thousand. And that's only on the one shade house but we plan on having ten shade houses on the property. So possibly between over time probably up to between eighty and one hundred thousand plants in the next five to six years."

Kealii Lum says they wanted to farm the vine and encourage more native Hawaiians to get back agriculture.