Hortgro Research Showcase
In an effort to inform interested growers, researchers, and other industry stakeholders of the scope, context, and content of Hortgro Science’s research offering, a Showcase was held in Stellenbosch last week. Despite buckets of rain and plummeting temperatures the three-day event was well attended with more than 322 industry role-players enjoying the Showcase that will in future feature regularly on the Hortgro Science diary.
The showcase’s format was 5-minute presentations by researchers and students involved in the 116 Hortgro Science projects. The Showcase kicked off with the Crop Protection Programme featuring research on phytosanitary issues, nematology, soil health, plant pathology, integrated pest management, and precision agriculture; the Crop Production Programme covering dormancy, rootstocks, and nursery tree quality, irrigation, growing season climate, reproductive biology, and farming technology; and the Post-harvest Programme spotlighting quality management, physiological defects, storage techniques, post-harvest decay, packaging/logistics, and fundamental understanding.
Hugh Campbell, Hortgro Science’s General Manager, said that the event created an opportunity to bring perspective about the research that is taking place. “Many people commented that they did not realise how much work is being done. What also impressed was the package of people that are involved in the research and that forms part of the mentoring process. This knowledge group ensures a flow of human capital to the industry.” Campbell also said that the format of 5-minute presentations really challenged researchers to apply their minds and get the essence of the work across. “In the end, we are solving industry problems – that is what our research is all about.”
Matthew Addison, Crop Protection Manager, said it was interesting to observe the different groups of people attending the different days. “With this event, we saw a different stream of people that we don’t normally see at our events. That is good.”
Richard Hurndall, Post-harvest Programme Manager, said that the Showcase illustrated the capacity of the research. “It was also an excellent networking opportunity. Sometimes industry players only recognise the research but now they had the opportunity to put a face to a research project. Listening to all the different projects also brought additional insight that one would not normally get by just reading a report.”
Wiehann Steyn, Crop Production Manager, said that the Showcase contextualized the research that is being done by Hortgro. The whole Hortgro Science research programme is a little bit like a mosaic and this was an opportunity to see the big picture and not just a little piece at a time.
What the attendees had to say:
“Thank you for the new initiative. The short and sharp presentations provided insight into current research and the day allowed for valuable interaction with peers as well as the researchers. I hope this opportunity becomes an annual or biannual institution targeted at interested growers, advisors, and researchers.” – Graeme Krige, Two-a-Day.
“It was brilliant. The format helps the researcher to focus their mind to provide concise information which is useful to the industry.” – Jaco Moelich, Fruitways.
“Die pas afgelope Hortgro Research Showcase was ‘n uitmuntende geleentheid waartydens navorsers hul werk met die breë bedryf kon deel. Genoeg interaktiewe tyd was ook geskep vir vrae en voorstelle rakende die verskillende projekte. Produsente word ook so op hoogte gehou waarvoor hul heffings gebruik word.” – Tobie van Rooyen, ProCrop.
“I found the event a good way to orientate one’s self regarding what is happening with Hortgro/PHI funded research at the moment. The presentations were too short for detail but, after seeing the presentations we are then able to contact the relevant researcher and ask more questions about their work.” – Angelique Marais, Fruitways.
“I was amazed at how many people I did not know, and they were asking questions. This is good for the industry.” – Henk Griessel, Tru-Cape.
“Dankie vir gister. Dit was nou regtig ‘n lekker manier om op hoogte te kom van die nuutste navorsing.” – Adriaan Theron, DutoitAgri.
“Hortgro Research Showcase presentations proved to be an excellent vehicle for communicating current research to tech transfer fieldsmen, which will ultimately benefit our growers, the levy funders. This initiative is another step in closing the gap between grower and current research projects.” Keith Bradley, Fruitways.
“Another communications effort to inform the levy payer of where their research monies are invested. Putting a face to a name, was one of the most important aspects of these sessions, giving one a perspective of the depth of research talent as well as the succession that is in place. The 5 min format, as well as the strict timekeeping, made sure that the presentations were short, concise and to the point, and gave a good overview of the project.” Stephen Rabe, SR Consult.
“I found the three-day showcase very interesting and informative. Most of the research feedback was relevant and could if implemented correctly have a positive impact on our fruit industry going forward. The short 5min feedback sessions work really well and all the research projects were presented very well and professionally! I would regularly attend this showcase and gladly recommend it to my peers for next year. Congratulations to all the researchers and presenters. Keep up the good work and a big thank you to Hortgro for making this possible.” – Pierre Rossouw, Stems.