The Director of Planning, Policy, and Research at the Ministry of Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Sugar Industry, Reshmi Kumari, revealed that Fiji has experienced a 20-30% decline in sugarcane production due to climate change impacts such as floods, saltwater intrusion, soil erosion, and droughts.
Speaking at the 3rd International Conference and Exhibition on “Sustainability: Challenges & Opportunities in Global Sugar Industry” held at Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Pune, India, Kumari shared insights on how climate change affects Fiji’s sugarcane industry.
In her presentation, she emphasized the urgent need for Fiji to adopt advanced research and technology to strengthen its sugar industry. Kumari remained hopeful about Fiji benefiting from shared technologies with other countries, focusing on how this could increase profits through higher yields and lower costs per unit.
The gathering, which saw over 2,500 attendees from 28 different countries, served as a crucial forum for Kumari to highlight the issues and prospects present in the sugar industry of Fiji and other countries. She underscored the significance of global cooperation in tackling shared challenges like climate change, labor shortages, and elevated production expenses.
Nations with well-developed sugar sectors exhibited state-of-the-art technologies and bio-technologies, including Artificial Intelligence computer systems, simulation tools such as remote sensing drones, and data analysis instruments like Geographical Information Systems. These technologies are designed to improve decision-making processes, address labor shortages, lower cultivation costs, and reduce the effects of climate change.
The event also included a comprehensive exhibition with 250 booths, where companies, scientists, service providers, and researchers showcased the latest technologies, ranging from agricultural practices to sugar processing facilities.