Tissue Culture Lab Bolsters Sugar Research


Scientific sugar research has been strengthened by the opening of the new Dr Krishnamurthi Tissue Cultural Lab at the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji in Drasa, Lautoka.

This new lab will ensure that pure cane seeds are provided to farmers so they can get higher yields.

“We are working hard to lift up the industry by increasing cane production and yield and investing in mechanization and modern transportation,” noted Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Voreqe Bainimarama.
“Research and development is the other critical piece. It is through serious scientific research that we will produce sugar varieties that yield more sugar for a longer period, that can adapt to climate change, and that are resistant to pests, diseases, drought or flooding. At a minimum, our research and development must keep pace with research and development at a global level.”

The laboratory specialises in tissue culture technology, which is used in many countries, such as India, to produce large volumes of pure and disease- free sugarcane plantlets that can multiply quickly in a smaller space. This will produce higher yields and the ability to farm small plots more profitably.

SRIF Board Chairman, Dr Rajesh Chandra said the lab adds a new dimension to cane breeding.

“The laboratory at Drasa has the capability of analysing and dispatching 90 recommendations in a week and testing more than 3000 samples annually, to help farmers increase production. A lab is currently being set up in Labasa to make it easier for farmers there to benefit from this service,” Dr Chandra highlighted.

Fiji is home to the world’s third oldest sugar research program, with 19 commercial varieties already developed to meet the special needs of Fijian farmers and sugar mills.