Horticultural experts from around the globe are gathering in Stellenbosch from this week for the 10th International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops.
The International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) is a global network of over 70 000 horticulturists, experts in the horticultural industry, universities, industry organisations, government representatives and companies.
The conference is hosted at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) Conference Centre, in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape South Africa, which started on 29 January until 2 February 2023. It is a joint initiative between researchers from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Stellenbosch University and Pretoria University.
The wider horticultural industry welcomed the hosting of a renowned international event on local soil. “The horticultural industry is key in South African agriculture and many of our local farmers of horticultural crops are world leaders in advanced agricultural practices. The industry is geared towards continuous improvement and the exchange of knowledge to ensure that the highest standard of agricultural practices is followed. We are proud to be involved with an event that supports this level of sustainability, knowledge share and continuous improvement,” said Michael Esmeraldo, managing director of Netafim South Africa, main sponsor of this locally hosted symposium.
What makes this event even more special is the fact that the ISHS irrigation symposium is only hosted every three to four years. This year, the event will be attended by 153 registered delegates from 18 countries around the world. “This year’s symposium is particularly well-supported by delegates from countries in Mediterranean climate regions and many other regions where irrigation plays an important role in the successful production of horticultural crops,” noted Professor Stephanie Midgley, convener of the 10th edition of the International Symposium on the Irrigation of Horticultural Crops.
She says that this symposium presents a massive opportunity for role players in the industry to learn about the most up-to-date, cutting-edge international research, that is often not yet published in the scientific literature. Massive value lies in cooperation in research beyond the borders of countries and continents. That, says prof Midgley, is one of the main benefits of the organisation and the symposium. “Delegates will use this opportunity to meet researchers from around the world with similar research interests.
“One of the dominant themes of the symposium is how to practice irrigation more sustainably in an era of water scarcity and climate change. In South Africa, better management of water in agriculture, resulting in more crop per drop, and more income per drop, will help to safeguard future food security and livelihoods, and strengthen our rural communities and economies,” explains prof Midgley.
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