University of Hawaii at Manoa
UH SealCollege of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

facilityFunction: Hawaii Foundation Seeds (HFS) is a university-sponsored organization that preserves collections of foundation (parent) seed stocks. It oversees collection, evaluation, increase and long-term storage primarily of tropical crops. It then provides foundation seed samples and services to the community. Certification of seeds is performed in Hawaii by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), and commercial sales performed by U. Hawaii’s Agric. Diagnostic and Service Center.

Founding: HFS was founded in 1977 at the annual meeting of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA) that was established in 1970. HCIA evolved from CTAHR’s Seed Industry Council formed by J. L. Brewbaker in 1964. CTAHR’s corn trials prompted interest of Illinois Foundation Seeds and Cornnuts, Inc., who invited seedsmen for winter nurseries in Hawaii. In 1969 CTAHR’s Seed Industry Council convened the 1st Seed Industry Conference on Molokai with the theme “Corn Seed Production in Hawaii: Present Problems and Future Potential” (Brewbaker, ed., 1969). See references for a detailed history of the industry.

corn displayFacilities: Financial support for a seed research building was requested in 1978 by HCIA from the State’s Governor. In 1980 the Hawaii Foundation Seed Facility was dedicated at Waimanalo Research Station on Oahu with Pastor Abraham Akaka’s words “Life Begins With the Seed”. Later a greenhouse and walk-in freezer were obtained.

Hawaii’s Seed Industry: Largely based on corn, this industry has grown from a half-million dollar ag industry (Brewbaker, 1969) to Hawaii’s largest (>$250 million in 2015). The website of Hawaii’s Crop Improvement Association is:

Location: HFS is housed at the Waimanalo Research Station of CTAHR on Oahu. Shown below, the primary seed facility is at 21N latitude and 158W longitude and at 20 m elevation near the Pacific ocean. The mean annual temperature is 24.6° C, with average rainfall of 1380 mm, and solar radiation of 1600 j/m²/sec. Essentially all the world’s crops grow comfortably in this “Hawaiian” climate. The station is 15 miles from the Manoa campus of U. Hawaii.

Fiscal Policies:  HFS provides pedigreed foundation seeds and associated services that are invoiced to CTAHR fiscal accounts. Material transfer agreements (MTA) are provided if requested for commercial use of Hawaii-bred germplasm with appropriate royalties to CTAHR.

Commitment: HFS is committed to international plant improvement for the benefit of growers and consumers. It is focused on the development and provision of superior tropical and subtropical germplasm and breeding stocks. Largest collections are those of corn and tropical legume trees (Acacia, Leucaena), with expanding collections of tropical vegetables.