Macadamia Protection Program research visit to Australia 2020-03-05
Macadamia Protection Programme research group leader, Dr Gerda Fourie, PhD candidate Angel Maduke and MSc student Ashleigh Smith visited research collaborators Prof. Andre Drenth and Prof. Femi Akinsanmi from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia, from 15-29 February. The research visit was funded by the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN), which aims to establish research collaborations between Australian and African Universities. The two-week visit started with a mini symposium held at the University of Queensland where all parties involved provided an overview of their current research projects. This included presentations from Dr Gerda Fourie and students, Prof. Femi Akinsamni, research leader of the Macadamia Integrated Disease Management programme in Australia, Prof. Bruce Topp and Dr Mobashwer Alam who provided a snapshot of the Macadamia breeding and genomics programme in Australia as well as Dr Ruth Huwer and Craig Maddox from the Macadamia Integrated Pest Management programme in Australia.
The visit also included field trips to engage with additional scientists, representatives of Government, Industry consultants and growers in Wollongbar, New South Wales as well as in Glasshouse Mountains and Bundaberg, Queensland. These discussions highlighted the importance of research that needs to deliver on industry needs and research that should be for the benefit of the Industry. During the two weeks, various on-going field trails sites, for example biological control of insect pests, predictive and monitoring trials, husk spot biological control and disease screening trails as well as the flower blight disease management trails were visited to demonstrate on-going research. This led to various discussions, establishment of collaborations and future joined projects to be established in South Africa, with a research visit to FABI by Australian scientists planned for 2021.