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Joni Kamiya

Papaya Farmer

Expert Bio

Joni Kamiya is an occupational therapist by training and an ag-vocate in Hawaii on the biotechnology issue. She is a wife, mother of three, and the daughter of long-time papaya farmer and Hawaii Papaya Industry Association president, Kenneth Kamiya. Her experience with biotechnology started in the early research on cross protection of the papayas back in the early 1990s as a lab assistant. At that time, the papaya ringspot virus was ravaging crops across the state and continuing the family farm did not seem to be a viable option to pursue, so she furthered her education in health care. After completing her BS at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, she continued her education at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine in the Occupational Therapy program, where she was introduced to systems thinking and evidence based practice concepts. She spent eight years living away from Hawaii working with the elderly and eventually moved back to her hometown. As the biotech controversy started to emerge in Hawaii, she became an ag-vocate in the social media circles to help defend her family’s farm. She founded her blog, the “Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter,” to speak out for the technology that saved her family’s three-generation farm. Through networking on social media, she has been instrumental in developing an even greater circle of fellow ag-vocates to help strengthen the voices of farmers in Hawaii to promote education on biotechnology.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Why dont GMO businesses ever try to sell at farmers markets, and put their confidence in the presence of all the purists?

Answered By Joni Kamiya - Jul 06, 2015

A: In Hawaii, papayas are a staple crop that consumers buy regularly.  It's one that is frequently found in farmers' markets across our state.  The majority of what is sold is GM due to the ringspot virus pressure that remains a problem for many growers across the islands.  There are non-GMO varieties and they are occasionally found at markets.   [...]

GMOs & Farmers Crop protectants


Q: Why The GM Papaya Story Is Personal For This Hawaii Local

By Joni Kamiya - May 25, 2017

A: This post was originally published on GMO Answers' Medium Page.   As part of GMO Answers’ GPS on GMOs series, GMO Answers is highlighting some of science and agriculture’s revolutionary female leaders and their research in specific parts of the world. The following post is the second installment of this series and highlights Joni Kamiya, who shares how biotechnology saved her family’s papaya farm Importance of Papayas in Hawaii If you ever go to a farmer’s market here in Hawaii, one of the main staples sold are papayas. People here love their papay [...]