Vaniqi: Sugarcane belt at risk as a result of climate change

FIVE students from the University of the South Pacific (from left) Apenisa Vaniqi, Sunishma Singh, Stephen Simon, Shivani Karan and Otto Navunicagi will be part of the COP25 in Santiago, Chile in December. Picture: RAMA

FIJI’s sugarcane belt is at risk as a result of climate change, says University of the South Pacific student Apenisa Vaniqi.

He is pursuing a postgraduate diploma in development studies.

Mr Vaniqi has been selected to be part of a team that will be travelling to Santiago, Chile, in December to be part of COP 25.

He is involved in the university’s pre-cop training at the Statham campus in Vatuwaqa, Suva.

The training is funded by the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience (PACRES), through USP and the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development.

For the past five years, Mr Vaniqi worked for the European Union where he monitored and evaluated the accompanying measures of the sugar protocol program based in Lautoka.

“I am honoured to be part of the group travelling to Chile and this is a platform where we can raise our voice to tell the world the impact of climate change not only in Fiji but across the Pacific Islands,” he said.

“For five years, I’ve experienced first-hand the impact of climate change on sugarcane farms in the Western Division and Seaqaqa in Labasa.

“Long periods of drought have affected sugarcane farms and most sugarcane farmers don’t have proper irrigation systems. “The impact of climate change in sugarcane farms, according to my observation, has worsened over the past years in Fiji.”

Mr Vaniqi said climate change had affected the economic sectors such as the agriculture and tourism industry where food security had also come under threat.

“Sea level rise has led to the relocation of villages located in coastal and it also affects human settlement.

“There is an urgent need to adopt adaptation initiatives to address the impact of climate change.”

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