SRIF warns of climate shifts impacting sugarcane production

November 22, 2023 5:20 am

The Sugar Research Institute of Fiji states that the climate conditions crucial for sugarcane cultivation have shifted significantly in the past decade.

CEO Professor Santiago Mahimairaja says the climate is not the same as it was five or 10 years ago, emphasizing the importance of understanding and adapting to these changes.

Professor Mahimairaja explains that for a plant to thrive, it requires an ideal combination of climate factors such as temperature, humidity, sunshine, and overall environmental conditions.

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He says these factors play a vital role in influencing the growth and development of crops.

“Because of continuous excessive rainfall, all the base cations like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium reach down from the soil profile, meaning that we aggravate soil acidity. Already, soils in Fiji are acidic because of volcanic origin.”

The professor also highlights a decline in sugarcane production over the past 25 years.

Professor Mahimairaja states that approximately a quarter of a century ago, Fiji boasted a production exceeding 4.36 million tons of sugarcane.

However, he adds that the current output has dwindled significantly to a mere 1.6 million tons.