South Pacific delegates a first for International Horticultural Congress


A group of 40 South Pacific horticulturalists made history when they attended the 29<sup>th</sup> International Horticultural Congress (IHC) held in Brisbane earlier this year.<!--more-->

Despite being the 29<sup>th</sup> international congress - it was the first time a delegation from the South Pacific had participated at the event.  Pacific representatives included researchers, women farmers and agribusiness leaders.

The theme was ‘Horticulture – sustaining lives, livelihoods and landscapes.’

Associate Professor Steven Underhill, University of Queensland, said the congress gave South Pacific participants the opportunity to learn new skills and ideas from leading international experts and to publish their research in the meeting proceedings.

Their key partner in the Pacific, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) contributed abstracts and discussions on food production in the region.

Ms Luseane Taufa, Pacific co-president on the IHC Committee, SPC’s Land Resources Division, Australia’s Department of Agriculture and ACIAR said, participation in the congress was “a defining moment” for the South Pacific.

Ms Taufa organised a Pacific village garden display (consisting of mainly tropical crops) to portray the type of village farming that sustains livelihoods in the Pacific.

“Agriculture is central to our way of lives and for too long we have missed the opportunities that come from sharing our unique abilities and challenges with the world,” said Ms Taufa.

“It was inspiring to witness our people so confidently take part in the 29th Congress, and through their involvement, help to raise awareness of the South Pacific.”

The IHC involved charismatic discussions and academic submissions from 100 countries. Some of the topics covered included the adoption of improved post-harvest techniques, development of protective cropping practices, tapping into marketing opportunities along with many other areas of horticultural research. Presentations and 4,000 abstracts showcased the enormous value to be found among international experts in horticulture science.

Issues raised related to the unique potential of horticulture to impact broadly on modern society in areas of health; prosperity and a sustainable world environment. Pre-congress training sessions covered production horticulture and post-harvest horticulture. Both courses included lectures, field trips, farm visits, and visits to research stations and pack houses.

“I hope the success of this year’s Congress will encourage more South Pacific representatives to attend future global horticultural forums,” said Associate Professor Underhill.

The 30th IHC will be held in Turkey in 2018

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), sponsored attendance at the event.

Source: Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI)

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