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Cane next on Fiji's list

Margaret Wise
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

FIJI is already regarded as a champion in the fight against climate change and the country was now preparing itself to be a world leader in climate resilient sugarcane farming.

This was the message from Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Voreqe Bainimarama to the International Sugar Organisation's 52nd council meeting in London last week Friday.

"I'd like to take some time to discuss our ongoing work in Fiji to adapt our cane industry to the realities of climate change and to those of the modern sugar market," he said.

"We are laying the foundation for an industry that sets a new bar in resilience, not only to storms like Winston, but to the droughts, flooding and rising seas that threaten sugarcane farmers in Fiji and around the globe.

"The world has already looked to us as champions on climate change, the great issue of our time.

"And again, we want to emerge as a global leader, a leader in the sugar industry, as a nation that puts our canefarmers at the forefront of bold and innovative climate adaptation strategies."

Mr Bainimarama said the strategies included greater investment in farm drainage infrastructure and irrigation to better control water run-off and saltwater intrusion.

He added that as part of this commitment, the Fijian Government had formed a new Ministry of Waterways dedicated to improving water infrastructure across Fiji, which he personally oversees.

"Our adaptation strategy also includes research and development in improved cane varieties and production systems that can better withstand climate effects. And it includes continued investment in resilient farm access roads, cane replanting and fertiliser subsidies, to ease burdens on our farmers, particularly in challenging seasons."

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