The 2017 International Symposium on Tropical Fruits (ISTF2017) was held in Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi, Fiji on 23-25 October 2017, organized by the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet), and Fiji Institute of Agricultural Sciences (FIAS), with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Bearing the theme “Food Security amidst a Changing Climate: Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Tropical Fruits,” the symposium aimed to assemble the latest scientific research, technology developments, best practices, and product innovations that support the transformation of the tropical fruit industry to be resilient to climate change.

The symposium was opened by the Honourable Inia Seruiratu, Minister of the Fiji Ministry Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services. Other special guests that gave welcome addresses were Deputy Secretary Uraia Waibuta of the Fijian MOA, TFNet Vice Chairperson Dr. Ganjun Yi, TFNet Chief Executive Officer Dr. Desa Hassim, and FAO Representative Pascal Liu.

Eighty-two participants from 11 countries attended the symposium, including Australia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, India, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Participants represented various stakeholders such as smallholder farmers, international organizations, government agencies, academic and research institutions, fruit experts, and the private sector.

Twenty-one oral presentations were delivered in 5 sessions that encompassed 5 major topics, which are climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation; crop protection and pest and disease management; crop diversification, varietal improvement, and biotechnology; postharvest, product development, and utilization; and farmer support, extension, and policy interventions.

During the wrap-up session led by Pascal Liu, it was concluded that there is a need to incorporate natural disasters into business plans, strategies, and policies. The capacity of farmers to develop production systems that are resilient to climate change should also be strengthened. Lastly, development initiatives should exercise the spirit of kotahitanga or “coming together as one” at the local, national, regional, and international levels.

After the Symposium, the participants visited various locations of interest in Fiji. These include the Nature's Way Cooperative’s export treatment facility, the Bula Agro Nursery, the Sigatoka Wet Market, the pottery village of Lawai in Nadroga, and the model farm of the Taiwanese Technical Mission (TTM).




Following the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries globally have increasingly made commitments towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   The rise in population and affluence translates to a rise in the demand for well-balanced diets and the need for nutritious food to be made available and accessible to all levels of society for the attainment of food security. Tropical fruits have been well documented to be a reliable source of food, nutrition and income, and the tropical fruit industry has seen an upward market trend in global demand for its production.

However, the tropical fruit industry is facing unprecedented threats due to climate change. The challenge of sustainably intensifying tropical fruit production while improving its resilience and reducing its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change remains priority for tropical fruit producers and countries which further require innovative interventions in terms of research, market and policy. This necessitates pragmatic action to create a more sustainable and productive tropical fruit industry, failing which the impacts of climate change will jeopardize further food security in countries and regions already facing food insecurity, thus hampering also the progress towards achieving the SDGs such as ‘zero hunger’ and ending poverty by 2030.

Fiji is a country of approximately 330 islands in the South Pacific and remains one of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries. Its largely agrarian based economy has faced challenges such as population pressure, climate change and inadequate infrastructure. These have threatened the international competitiveness of its food and horticulture exports such as tropical fruits, and the nation’s food security.

The commitment of Fiji in addressing climate change is visible through its submission of the new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Fiji is also seeking to make its agriculture climate-smart and recently developed the 2020 Agriculture Policy Agenda which sets the course for establishing a diversified and economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture. Therefore, Fiji’s vast experience in formulating strategies for the improvement and strengthening of the agriculture sector in the wake of climate vulnerabilities makes it the ideal host and venue for the ISTF 2017.


The ISTF 2017 is a step taken forward in achieving these SDGs by the International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) and its partners to provide a platform to discuss the contributions of research and development, the private sector, and policy makers to tropical fruit production and food security in the face of climate change. Specifically, it aims to:

  • Assemble the latest scientific research, technology developments, best practices, and product innovations that support the transformation of the tropical fruit industry to be resilient to climate change;
  • Discuss how the latest research can contribute towards the adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change on tropical fruits;
  • Assess present and future marketing opportunities of tropical fruits;
  • Discuss policies that support the growth and transformation of the tropical fruit industry; and
  • Provide a venue for information sharing among participants from different countries

The symposium applied a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach to the tropical fruit industry along the value chain, from production to consumers. It will include plenary presentations from established experts, and oral and poster presentations from participants.




Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Crop Protection and Pest and Disease Management

Sustainable Production and Management

Crop Diversification and Varietal Improvement

Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Health and Nutrition

Postharvest, Product Development and Utilization


Agribusiness, Economics, Marketing, and International Trade

Policy Making and Extension

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