Tech billionaire Ellison sees potential for agriculture on Lanai
Manele Bay, Lanai >> For much of the last century, Lanai was the world’s premier supplier of pineapple. Now, there’s a new plan to make the island a model that changes agriculture for the world by growing the freshest, most nutritional produce and profitably selling it for less than mass-produced imports.Some might think Mr. Ellison to be in need of some serene image immersion himself with his 1.16 billion shares of ORCL down $6.57/share over the last eight days but should push come to shove ol' Larry should be ok. he always has Musashi to get away from it all:
Larry Ellison, the tech industry billionaire who bought 98 percent of Lanai five years ago, announced the detailed endeavor Saturday in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser interview on the island.
The ambitious plan, which involves automated, computer-driven hydroponic cultivation inside giant greenhouses, is part of what can be viewed as Stage 2 of Ellison’s vision to make the island a sustainable community.
“We’ve looked at agriculture, and it is one of the few industries that has not been transformed by modern technology,” he said at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay.
If the $15 million high-tech greenhouse slated to be running by the middle of next year is successful, it could be reproduced far and wide with a global impact on farming and people who would be able to eat better produce that costs less.
“Lanai is step No. 1,” Ellison said. “We think we can transform agriculture.”
Ellison added that his venture, which relies on renewable energy and little transportation costs, should be profitable in its first year.
The crops grown initially at what will be known as Lanai Farms are expected to include tomatoes, leafy greens, cucumbers and herbs but could expand in a future phase with more vegetables and possibly fruits, according to Kurt Matsumoto, chief operating officer of Pulama Lanai, the Ellison company managing Lanai operations.
Ellison said scientists and computers will measure and maximize nutrition, and that resulting crops should cost “a fraction” of what Hawaii consumers pay for what’s on store shelves today.
If you have the highest quality and the best nutrition, you have to be willing to pay less,” he said with a smile. “It’s economic and health benefits all rolled into one. The highest-quality food at the lowest prices.”
Other parts of Ellison’s Lanai 2.0 plan include a $75 million transformation of the Lodge at Koele in Lanai City into a resort where people go to improve themselves with meditation, yoga, serene image immersion and luxurious spa treatments, among other things....MUCH MORE