About Us

The Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA)

• Envisions making delicious, nutritious, high-quality, Hawaii-grown papayas available to consumers around the world.
• Strives to improve business conditions for the papaya industry in Hawaii, including those related to the cultivation, distribution, sales and use of papayas.
• Is committed to developing and improving the papaya industry through research, education and cooperation on a non-partisan basis.

A second chance.

Our papayas are grown in Hawaii, USA, using the strictest USDA food safety guidelines



The genetically engineered Rainbow Papaya saved the Hawaii papaya industry from near extinction in the 1990s. That’s when the devastating papaya ringspot virus, a plant virus, decimated papaya farms on Oahu and Hawaii Island.

Cornell scientists joined with University of Hawaii researchers and figured out a way to use the genetic portion of the virus to “inoculate” papayas against the disease. 

This made the papaya resistant to the ringspot virus—similar to the way a vaccine makes people immune to H1N1 flu virus. Immunizing papayas in this way is safe and does not change its food characteristics.With unanimous approval by the U.S. government Papaya farmers across the state began planting Rainbow papaya in 1998 following stringent reviews for health and environmental safety and unanimous approval by the U.S. government.

Without biotechnology, there would be very little—if any—papaya grown in Hawaii today. It allowed farmers to continue doing what they love to do—growing food that nourishes the people of Hawaii and the world. The Rainbow Papaya gave Hawaii’s papaya farmers a second chance and gave everyone a vitamin-rich superfood that compares to no other.

Hawaii-grown Rainbow Papayas have been distributed across the U.S. since 1998, Canada since 2003, and most recently to Japan. For the past 15 years, consumers have enjoyed more than 260 million pounds of Rainbow Papaya in the U.S. and Canada, safely and happily.

A Timeline of Events and Brief History


The first formal meeting of papaya producers in Hawaii was held on November 13, 1965, in the city of Hilo, Hawaii. Approximately 150 producers; handlers; wholesalers; shippers; University of Hawaii and government officials met at the old Hilo Hotel. This was the inception of the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, marking a milestone in the development of the papaya industry in Hawaii.


Organizers hoped to establish an organization of the papaya industry and not a marketing cooperative. Marketing, however, became one of the most serious problems of the papaya industry. Being subject to anti-trust laws came into discussions and led to consider the idea of becoming a Marketing Order. The papaya industry became a Federal Marketing Order, an entity of the United States Department of Agriculture.


The HPIA was officially incorporated in the state of Hawaii as a non-profit organization to complement the Marketing Order and pursue its vision.

With the unprecedented economic losses in papaya production due to the devastating papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), the development of the transgenic Rainbow was the focus of activity for the papaya industry.

The Hawaii Papaya Industry Association exists to continue to promote the improvement of business conditions in the State of Hawaii for the papaya industry.