|GM Rainbow Papayas|
Photo: U.S. Embassy Japan/USDA
Hawaii was a major exporter to Japan in the 1990s with exports totaling $15 million in 1996. This was curtailed to less than $1 million by the spread of papaya ringspot virus throughout Hawaii's papaya crop. GM Rainbow papaya was gene-engineered in 1998 specifically to combat this disease. According to the USDA, "with its approval for import of Rainbow papaya, U.S. papaya producers hope to regain this important market."
For more see: "USDA Expands Export Opportunities for Hawaiian Rainbow Papaya," USDA Press Release, 11 January 2012.