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HPIA Board Meeting Minutes April 24, 2020

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Meeting was via Zoom.  Called to order at 3:00 pm April 24, 2020

Board Members in attendance; Eric Weinert, Ken Ogawa, Peter Houle, Koji Okamura, Toshi Aioki

Non-Members attending; Chris Wengler.

Rainbow Seed Policy.  

Toshi wanted to protect the HPIA / Hawaii Papaya industry from foreign competition if our Rainbow seed was distributed out of State.

Motion: To request from our members who produce Rainbow Seed to not sell or distribute seed outside the State of Hawaii.  Made by Toshi, second by Ken.

Motion passed unanimously.

Discussion on question.  That the patent has expired and we had no legal ability to restrict where sales are made.  That when training was done for our members to produce seed, that request to not sell outside the state of Hawaii was made.  That the current policy of HPIA for the seed produced for HPIA and in our inventory is NOT for sale outside of the State of Hawaii.

To request Eric to send letters to Marissa Wall, Denis Golsalves, Richard Manshart and Tracie Matsumoto inquiring about the HPIA’s rights to restrict sales of Rainbow seed outside of the State of Hawaii.

Financial Statements

Chris distributed to all Board Members the Financial Statements of HPIA as of March 31, 2020.

Eric explained highlight of the Statements.  Although HPIA has a sufficient cash reserve at the present time to cover expected expenses, the governments mandated shutdown of business will certainly reduce the future VPC income.  Eric warned that we should not commit to additional expenditures in order to remain fiscally viable.


SHAC voted at their April meeting to hire a new firm, (not J. Brain, the past Marketing Director) to do a marketing study for Hawaii papaya in the Japan Market. 

Toshi was given the floor to explain recent events regarding SHAC and the Japan Marketing Director.  He told the board he didn’t know why SHAC chose a new director against the recommendation of the persons in HPIA selling to Japan.  He 

stated that J. Brain did a good job, but that poor performance in recent years was due to lack of product in Hawaii.

Toshi resigned as the HPIA representative to SHAC, leaving his position open, and Eric as the only HPIA representative to SHAC.  HPIA should have two representatives. 

Toshi suggested that HPIA withdraw from SHAC and find another grant writer to obtain FAS funds.  He stated that the current grant writer had rejected the information he had provided and had represented to the SHAC board that J. Brain was not qualified to be the Japan Director when in fact he was.

Ken asked if the FAS would be likely to fund the HPIA if it withdrew from SHAC.  Eric replied that in his opinion, funding HPIA without SHAC was unlikely.  SHAC has just recently recovered from a dark cloud where FAS auditors were not satisfied with compliance.  This occurred during the early years where rules were not followed, compliance was not thorough, and audit trails were not established.  Eric shared that this function is critical to funding and that SHAC has the resources and personnel that is needed for HPIA to get federal marketing monies, and without it HPIA would be liable for all funds spent, not just the 10% match.

Motion: To have the president of HPIA write a letter to SHAC strongly recommending that J. Brain continue to be the Marketing Director for SHAC.  Toshi made the motion.  Koji seconded.  The motion was defeated on a 3-2 vote after hearing discussion below.

Discussion: Eric explained that there is no contract with J. Brain.  This has been part of the problem with compliance.  Additionally, without a contract there is no performance targets or marketing plan, both required by FAS for funding.  The only thing that the SHAC board did was contract a new firm to do a marketing study.  HPIA needs to conserve its funds now, and no monies beyond this marketing study have been spend or will be spent without HPIA board approval, including funds for Canada marketing.

Motion: To defer selection of new Japan Director until the marketing study is completed. Toshi made the motion.  Ken seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

Discussion:  Eric suggested that Koji and Toshi work closely with the new firm so that they understand the goals and methods of Hawaii papaya producers currently selling in the Japan market.  The market study will be used to develop a marketing plan and strategy.  Waiting to select a marketing director who is best able to execute the new plan will yield the best result for our marketing dollars.  This will also give us time to see how the economies of the world are fairing after a worldwide shutdown of business by governments.

Toshi agreed this was an acceptable plan.

Motion:  To purchase a small refrigerator for seeds that need to be stored, and locate that refrigerator in the HPIA office.  Motion made by Ken, seconded by Peter.  Motion passed unanimously.

As there was no further business the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm.  

The ZOOM format was successful and until further notice will be used for future board meetings.