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Maili Moa LLC

Mark Takaki, egg farmer and owner, Maili Moa LLC

Mark Takaki, egg farmer and owner, Maili Moa LLC

sb awards logoFor most businesses, success is measured by profit margins, growth rates or expansion opportunities. For egg farmer Mark Takaki, however, success is simply defined as staying afloat. “My biggest challenge is just trying to survive,” he says, laughing.

These are not “eggs-travagant” times for Takaki and his 9-year-old company, Maili Moa LLC. Increasing regulations, rising feed costs and the influx of U.S mainland eggs in Hawaii markets have hurt local farms. The Waianae-based Maili Moa, with four full-time employees, is one of only four remaining egg farms on Oahu.

Takaki, whose sales revenues are between $600,000 and $700,000 annually, says his ability to adapt to the market is his key to survival. He no longer delivers to Oahu restaurants, for example, because the Mainland suppliers are able to sell their eggs cheaper. Instead, he makes weekly shipments to egg-needy markets on Kauai and the Big Island. He also has carved a niche for himself by producing more brown eggs.

The implementation of a state-sponsored Livestock Feed Reimbursement Program, which allows qualified farmers to apply for reimbursement for up to 60 percent of their feed expenses, should help. Enacted in 2007, the program is only scheduled to last until 2009.

What happens if the assistance program isn’t extended?

“Basically, I would have to shut down,” says Takaki. “I hope it doesn’t come to that. I love the farm life.”

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