The Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Hon. Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama this week announced the appointment of four (4) new members to the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF) Board.
The new members include:
- Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice Chancellor of USP, as Chairman of the Board;
- Dr K. S. Shanmugha Sundaram, a sugarcane research scientist specializing in sugarcane breeding, varietal improvement and plant protection;
- Professor Paras Nath, Dean of College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at the Fiji National University; and
- Mr. Daniel Elisha, business owner of Elisha Engineering.
In confirming the appointments, the Prime Minister said, “Research and development initiatives pertaining to all aspects of sugarcane production are of critical importance to the confirmed viability and sustainability of the industry, especially in light og our concerted efforts to effectually deal with the erosion of preferential EU market access post 2017.
Hon. PM Bainimarama re-affirmed that the Government is absolutely committed to bring about improved varieties, husbandry practices and efficiencies in harvesting and transportation of sugarcane to keep the industry viable and sustainable.
“The appointments were made in accordance with the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji Act of 2005, and are effective for a period of three (3) years from March 1st, 2015,” Mr Chand said.
Other members of the Board include Mr Abdul Khan, Executive Chairman of the Fiji Sugar Corporation, Mr Sundresh Chetty, CEO for the Sugar Cane Growers Council and Mr Manasa Tagicakibau, Commissioner of the Western Division. Mr Tagicakibau will act as the Fijian Government representative on the Board.
“Putting together the right team of people, where all the stakeholders are represented equates to a more efficient, knowledgeable and well informed group of individuals who will help to safeguard the Industry. I have brought in top administrators, scientists, researchers and industry personnel to derive maximum impact and results from the work activities required of SRIF.”
Several of the functions of the SRIF include designing, developing, monitoring and reviewing research programmes and research strategies for the sugar industry, carrying out research into any matter relating to the sugar industry as well as investigating and evaluating the requirements for research or technical and scientific progress while measuring the efficiency related to the growing of sugar cane.
The SRIF is also responsible for the research into the prevention, control and eradication of pest infestation for sugar cane, the development of a cane quality payment system as well as assisting in keeping to a minimum, any damage to the environment that may be caused by the activities of the sugar industry.