A collaboration between Associate Professor Olufemi Akinsanmi from the University of Queensland (Macadamia Integrated Disease Management Programme) and the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) in FABI started in 2020 when two PhD candidates Ashleigh Smith and Angel Maduke along with their research leader, Dr Gerda Fourie visited Australia for two weeks. The main aim of the research visit, funded by the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN), was to introduce the South African visitors from the MPP to established Australian research programmes.

To continue the collaboration between the two research groups in these challenging pandemic times, members of both teams have been taking part in monthly research meeting throughout 2021 using online platforms. This month’s topic focused on Flower blight of Macadamia and presentations were given by MSc student Gerhard Botha (MPP, UP) and Kandeeparoopan Prasannath (UQ). The presentations are normally followed by in depth discussion addressing questions, concerns, and future studies regarding the topic. This collaboration has been very beneficial in understanding the broader impact of certain pathogens on Macadamia and variations in pathosystems between the two countries. To further strengthen the collaboration, a visit from the Australian researchers to South Africa and FABI is planned, however this will only happen once travel restrictions are lifted.