Taro farms along the North Shore of Kauai still have not recovered from the record rainfall and flooding back in April. Their setbacks could lead to a state-wide taro shortage.

Island News was in Hanalei last month and stopped by the fields of Hanalei Taro. The tops of Kalo plants were barely visible above the water that pooled in the fields. It's not much of an improvement months after rains and flash floods ravaged Kauai's North Shore.

"We're salvaging taro that has been buried by a tremendous amount of flood silt," said Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama, owner of Hanalei Taro.

She said she's dealt with floods before but her family farm has never faced this kind of devastation. 

"Unfortunately, we lost a lot of the newly planted fields. In fact, all of the newly planted fields on our far and also all the taro seedlings," she said.

It's not just taro. The six-generation family farm lost equipment, vehicles, even structures that are part of their Ho'opulapula Harguchi Rice Mill. 

Haraguchi-Nakayama predicts it could take two to three years of recovery to get the farm back up to speed.

Hanalei Taro isn't the only farm feeling the flood's after effects. Haraguchi-Nakayama and her father are on the board of the Kauai Taro Growers Association, and she said every farm in the area experienced some degree of loss from the storm. 

Last year, the state's taro crop was valued at $2.5 million according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Haraguchi-Nakayama predicts that may change if this year's yield from the lo'i is small.

"There may be a taro shortage in the future, especially because taro is a long term crop in regards to most vegetables," she said. "Most vegetables are several months. Radishes, taro over a year, 16 months depending on the variety."

If there is a taro shortage, what will happen to poi?

The owners of Kapa'a Poi Factory said they buy their taro from Kauai's North Shore farms. They tell Island News it may be too soon to tell if there will be a shortage and they haven't felt the affects yet. They also say it's too soon to predict if any shortage will be a problem for poi prices or supply.

Right now, farms are focused on recovery and keeping people employed.