Plenty for industry at Postharvest 2020
Fruit and vegetable post-harvest stakeholders are being urged to get involved in an industry day especially focused for them which is to be part of a post-harvest conference being held in Rotorua in early November.
Postharvest 2020 is the ninth International Postharvest Symposium, a global science event held every four years. The conference is being jointly organised by Dr Allan Woolf of Plant and Food Research and Andrew East of Massey University. Co-convener, Dr Woolf, said the broadbased event is the biggest worldwide for the discipline and there will be many participants travelling to New Zealand from around the world to attend.
“Post-harvest science is important to New Zealand’s economic success and this country has to be a key player,” he said.
New Zealand’s experience in the field makes it an obvious choice for the symposium. Our unique global location and focus on exporting food means leading research and innovation is necessary to ensure the delivery of premium horticultural products to markets on the other side of the world. The conference will provide a great opportunity to meet with leading post-harvest research professionals, and offers a diverse and innovative programme, he said.
High quality science presentations will deal with all aspects of post-harvest handling which enables harvested fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal quality and safety through to their final marketplace.the focus will be firmly on the biological and technological challenges in the post-harvest management of fresh horticultural produce, including practical post-harvest treatments, storage technologies, and packaging and handling solutions. The underpinning physiological mechanisms and new technologies to measure and assess quality of fruit, vegetables and flowers will also be discussed. Sessions dealing with these subjects will be balanced with engaging workshops and informal discussions during extended morning and afternoon tea breaks.
“We want to encourage people to have interactions,” Allan said. “We will certainly keep to time, but people like what Kiwis bring to conferences with their relaxed and informal way of doing things.”
Planning for Postharvest 2020 began even before the last conference was held in 2016 and it is hoped that over 300 people will attend. Allan Woolf’s co-convener is Massey University post-harvest engineer, Professor Andrew East. There are a further eight Plant & Food Research staff on the organising committee, along with two from Massey and one from platinum sponsor, Zespri.
Putting the contribution of young people front and centre means there’s a strong push to match around 20 doctorate students from Plant & Food Research and Massey University who will be attending, with counterparts drawn from around the world.along with a full day international development aid pre-conference workshop on Monday November 9, there will be a half-day student workshop held in the afternoon where they can learn about publishing skills as well as getting the chance to meet leading researchers in the field and discuss potential career pathways and the skills needed to take each pathway.
“We’re wanting to promote the young people of our research community and it will be a great chance for PHD students to get together and discuss some of the specific challenges of their stage of career,” Allan said.
A conference app will allow creation and maintenance of connections made at Postharvest 2020 long after it’s finished.
Allan Woolf said a number of abstracts have already come in and there has been a very good response from potential attendees, although it is difficult at this stage to get an accurate picture of numbers.
More information is available at www.scienceevents. co.nz/postharvest2020/.