Suppressed rainfall poses risk to crops

Farmer Arun Sharma with his labourers shows how the dry weather condition had affected his farm at Nukuloa in Ba in an earlier picture. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

Suppressed rainfall as a result of an El Niño event later this year can affect a wide range of crops and water systems across the country.

The Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) said Fiji would receive more than 80 per cent of its annual rainfall during the wet season, from November to April.

“However, due to the fact that significantly suppressed rainfall occurred during some of the months within the wet season, and the chances of an El Niño (drier than usual conditions) developing during the May to July 2023 period, there is a likelihood of suppressed rainfall to affect parts of the country as we move further into the dry season – May to October,” FMS stated.

“If rainfall continues to be suppressed at three, six and 12-month timescale, the following crops and water systems are likely to be affected.

“At three months: rainwater tanks, small streams, hand-dug wells, shallow bores, young sugarcane, traditional vegetables (for instance, bele), cabbage, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, okra, tomatoes, watermelon, rice, crops (yam, taro, cassava, pasture).

“By six months, small rivers, bores, streams/rivers, mature sugarcane, kumala, uvi, hybrid dalo, corn, pineapple, pawpaw, dalo (vuci), tapi, kumala (carrot variety) will be affected.

“After a year, deep bores/large aquifer system, reservoirs, dams, rivers, tapi, coconuts, breadfruit, mango, kava, banana, vudi, fruit trees (for instance, noni, lemon, orange) are likely to be affected.”

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