OHA introduces new Mahi ʻAi Agricultural Loan
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund program is introducing a new program this month to support Native Hawaiian farmers across the pae ʻāina.
The Mahi ‘Ai Agricultural Loan Program is another way that OHA is meeting the business needs of Native Hawaiians who are starting a farm or expanding an existing one.
“For nearly 35 years, OHA has provided Native Hawaiians with low-interest loans to start or expand their businesses,” said Aikū‘ē Kalima, OHA’s Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan manager. “To diversify our loan portfolio and support mahi ‘ai, or farmers, we have earmarked funds specifically for agricultural businesses.”
The program has unique features that keep the needs of mahi ‘ai in mind. In addition to the low-interest rates, new borrowers have the option of deferring their loan payments for the first six months without incurring additional interest.
“We recognize that it takes time for crops to grow, or livestock to reach a certain stage, before they can generate revenue for farmers, and we’ve taken that into consideration to help ensure our loan recipients are off to a good start,” Kalima said. “These loans will not only help Native Hawaiians build strong businesses working in harmony with the land to support their families and provide jobs for others in the community, but also support food security to help Hawai‘i become more resilient.”
OHA offers agricultural business loans up to seven years at 4% APR for amounts between $2,500 and $100,000 for in-ground or above-ground farming, greenhouse, hydroponic, and other types of farming, including raising livestock.
All owners of the business must be of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Loan applicants must be State of Hawai‘i adult residents and meet stringent criteria, including having a credit score of 600 or higher and their debt-to-income ratio must be no more than 45%. The business must also be registered with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and be in good standing.
For more information on the Mahi ‘Ai Agricultural Loan Program, visit https://loans.oha.org/mahiai-agricultural-loan/, email NHRLF@ohaloanfund.org or call the OHA office at (808) 594-1835.