The Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF) is taking proactive and effective approaches to assist the Sugar Industry and cane growers with healthy farms and increased cane production.

Speaking at the Growers Field Day which was attended by the Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama in Nadi today, SRIF chief executive officer Mr Prema Naidu spoke at length about one of the organisation’s objectives which is best management practices to ensure sustainable sugarcane production.

Mr Naidu said that adopting such practices minimises the risk of loss in productivity and profitability and loss of soil resources.

“Best management practices should be considered across the entire farming system and to include key considerations such as: soil management; crop and harvest management; and pest and disease-control measures,” he said.

“Also, knowledge of soil should be used as the basis for making management decisions on farms and factors to be considered are appropriate land preparation, planting practices, balanced and sustainable nutrient management, effective weed control and best harvesting practices.”

Mr Naidu also highlighted the importance of maintaining soil health in cane farms.

“Farmers can do this by planting cover crop during fallow period,” he said.

Green manuring technology is also a good option and this is a process whereby leguminous plants such as pulses, lentils, peas, peanuts and mucuna that are capable of trapping nitrogen from the atmosphere are incorporated into the soil to improve soil health.

These plants are cultivated on the same land few months prior to cane planting.

Green manuring also helps control insects, pests, diseases and weed that are detrimental factors to cane development.

SRIF board chairman Mr Prakash Chand also shared similar sentiments and emphasised the organisation’s recent successful initiatives.

“The Institute has developed some key projects in line with the Industry Strategic Plan and overall policies of the Fijian Government. This includes plant breeding and variety development, and crop management.”

SRIF is also focused on continuous research for better water management for irrigation, soil and folia testing, plant-breeding, seed-cane production, and greenhouse and fertiliser advisory services for farmers.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and his government delegation also toured some cane farms in the West today.

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