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Posted: Sunday, April 23rd, 2006 6:30 AM HST

Hawaii loses symbolic pineapples, but new crops take their place

By Associated Press

WAIALUA, Hawaii (AP) _ Hawaii's farmers are turning to new crops as the state's famous pineapple industry is shrinking because of foreign competition.

Pineapples are a symbol of America's 50th state.

But they can be grown and shipped to the United States more cheaply from Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, China, India and Costa Rica.

Del Monte announced in February that it would end its Hawaii pineapple operations by mid-2008, and about 700 workers will lose jobs that date back to an era when plantations imported workers from around Asia.

The transition to niche fruits and vegetables has been steadily growing over the last 20 years.

Those new crops include noni, papaya, macadamia nuts, coffee, mangos, flowers and bananas.

(Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.)



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