The research leader of FABI’s Macadamia Protection Programme, Dr Gerda Fourie, attended the annual Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) Research Symposium held on 6-7 September at Sibaya Casino, KwaZulu-Natal. Approximately 240 delegates attended the symposium. These included macadamia nut growers and processors from all growing areas in South Africa as well as from Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya.

Dr Fourie’s talk focused on the launch of the FABI Macadamia Protection Programme where she provided details of the overall goals and specific objectives of this programme. The talk also provided background on specific research projects on Lepidoptera and stinkbug pests of macadamia, with the focus on the importance of the research for pest monitoring and management. The symposium also highlighted other on-going research currently funded by SAMAC. For example, Theunis Smith reported on macadamia water relations and Dr Charles Hefer talked about sequencing the macadamia genome and next generation breeding. Professor Ben Botha updated SAMAC on his work that focuses on kairomones and traps for the two-spotted stinkbug. Willem Steyn talked about the use of entomopathogenic nematodes to control nut borer and Dr Elsje Joubert talked about imidacloprin, stinkbugs, nut borers and bees.

On Thursday a group of approximately 20 delegates spent a day in the field. This included visits to the largest nursery in KwaZulu-Natal, namely T&T Nursery at Ifafa Beach, the Coastal Macadamia factory at Ramsgate as well as Gracleland Farm in Munster.