THE TIME WILL COME WHEN POI WILL BE SCARCE.
It would appear that the days are numbered, and 5 pounds of poi will go for a quarter, that is five cents per pound. This rise in price of poi is due to the lack of kalo, and perhaps because Hawaiians just don’t care to plant kalo in their fields.
These days in Honolulu, there are but few places that plant kalo. Places that loi kalo were seen are now dried out because the lands were accrued by other groups of people, and they dried the fields out; whereas it would be more beneficial if those back turners continued the planting of kalo. It has been almost two years since this spokesperson [the newspaper Ke Aloha Aina] first advised those with lands to farm them, for the time will come when there will be food shortages, at that time, America will declare war against Germany, which will intensify the problem, and that time we spoke of has come indeed. As proof of what we say, look to the issues of A. D. 1915–16, and you will find our words of advice, strongly encouraging Hawaiians to plant kalo and other crops, because the time will come when there will be hardships, and it will come, without fail.
Something terribly astonishing to us is that it as if kalo is being made into poi outside of Hawaii, for the cost is rising like goods imported here.
Why is this so? Because there is so little kalo being farmed, and there are a lot of people eating poi. These days, there are other ethnicities eating poi because their staples are expensive, and therefore, many people are eating poi and not much kalo is being planted.
We give our appreciation to the poi association of the stevedores which took some kalo lands and leased them out long term to plant kalo to supply their outlets at the markets and feed the poi-eating public.
Probably the public doesn’t realize that these days there is a poi shortage; maybe they continue to assume that poi is as usual. No! There is less poi now; six and a half pounds for a quarter, and some weeks it is just six pounds and sometimes five pounds for a quarter, which is five cents per pound.
So all you people with some kalo land, you should plant a lot of kalo and pull up well-developed corms when the time is right. Neglect during the day will leave you without. Work while the sun is up.
(Aloha Aina, 9/7/1917, p. 4)