FABI researchers attend the International Macadamia R&D Conference in China 2019-11-15
The annual International Macadamia R&D Conference was held in Lincang City, Yunnan, China from 5-9 November. Macadamia Protection Programme research leader Dr Gerda Fourie and FABI postdoctoral Fellow Dr Arista Fourie joined 300 delegates from 12 countries, consisting mostly of senior researchers, institute directors and consultants. The conference was aimed at sharing current macadamia research, focused on pests and diseases, breeding, tree physiology, post-harvest management and remote sensing. The conference allowed for theme-specific group discussions to establish collaborations for future projects that would have a mutual benefit for macadamia production globally. Delegates also visited the International Macadamia Research and Development Centre to see the current facilities and discuss possible collaborative projects that could be based at this centre.
Field visits to various macadamia farms illustrated some challenges faced in the Lincang area, such as steep mountain slopes which make management and harvesting difficult, as well as pest, disease and abiotic factors that challenge production and yield. During a visit to the Yun-aoda Company nursery delegates also had the opportunity to look at dwarf-variety rootstock trails that aims to develop smaller trees for dense planting as well as smaller tress for improved pest management.
Delegates had the privilege to attend the annual Lincang Macadamia Nut Culture Festival and the prestigious award ceremony of the 7th Asia Microfilm Art Festival, held in Lincang. Since Yunnan is known for the origin of ancient pu-erh tee trees, some delegates also had the opportunity, as a post-conference tour, to visit an exclusive Bingdao pu-erh tea farm, harbouring trees of up to 600 years old. A conference video summary, compiled by Barry Christie, group agricultural technical manager from Green Farms Nut Company, can be accessed here.