31 January 2016. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nigerian scientist, Professor Umezuruike Opara emerged the winner of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Continental Scientific Award in the field of Earth Science.

Opara was conferred with the $100,000 award at the opening of the 26th Sessions of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held at the AU headquarters.

His multi-disciplinary research team is the leading group worldwide working on postharvest practices that improve the postharvest handling, packaging and marketing of pomegranate fruit. Prof Opara is recognised globally as the leading individual researcher on postharvest technology of pomegranates. His research group also tests and develops packaging and quality control methods relevant to the handling and storage of fruits and vegetables such as table grapes, citrus and apples. 

These efforts are focused on alleviating unnecessary food loss and waste in the fruit and vegetable sector. His team also recently investigated the preservation and quality of fish, and the use of cassava flour to make bread with. 

“It is an honour to have one’s work recognised on such a continent-wide scale, but credit should also go to my research team and industry for supporting my ideas and research interests,” said Prof Opara, who graduated in agricultural engineering from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. 

He holds a PhD from Massey University in New Zealand. “Scientific research can play a crucial role in enhancing the profitability and sustainability of agribusiness,” notes Prof Opara. “This award is particularly special because it also recognises the impact of our research on building human capacity in South Africa and Africa as a whole.” Since joining Stellenbosch University in 2009, Prof Opara has mentored the studies of 18 PhD and 21 MSc students from 15 African countries. In 2015 he also received an IMPRESSA award.
Related:
3rd All Africa Horticultural Congress 
7-12 August 2016 
at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Ibadan, Nigeria.

It will be a meeting place for science and business , where all stakeholders in horticulture in Africa and beyond interact. Whether you would like to present a paper or buy or sell products, this is the place to be. The theme of the Congress is ‘Horticulture for improved livelihoods

This will be addressed in  symposia with ample opportunity for all to be a part of the discussion . There will be a trade fair/exhibition to showcase the latest technologies and products in horticulture.

For more information, please visit the Congress website www.afrohort.org  OR the website of the international Society for Horticultural science ISHS | International Society for Horticultural Science .

This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.

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