Around eighty people gathered for NZPPI's inaugural Plant Producer Science and Innovation Summit in Rotorua on 4 and 5 May 2017.
Day one got off to a great start, and the value of such gatherings was rapidly realised - shortly after a presentation on the impact of myrtle rust on Raoul Island, the meeting learned of the detection of the rust in Kerikeri. The discussion on biosecurity, risk management and science became very personal, very quickly.
The excitement didn't end on Thursday through. Friday's wrap up was curtailed by a fire alarm. There's never a dull moment at an NZPPI event!
You can read more about this in the links to presentations in the column to the right.
On Friday afternoon delegated work-shopped a key question - “What are key issues for plant production that can be addressed by science and technology?”
Six key drivers were identified and six groups were formed to address the driver and related issues.
You can read more about each of these drivers in our Summit Report Back.
We've had lots of great feedback - here's some from Nicola Rochester:
It was fantastic to participate in the Science Summit. Much will come out of it that will be a catalyst to taking our industry to a higher level in many ways.
The announcement of myrtle rust at the Summit did fill the room with a sense of foreboding but after listening to the scientist and the diagnostic kit they developed for myrtle rust for MPI I got a glimmer of hope. Then listening about genetic markers work to speed up selection and breeding for traits in the forestry sector made me realise that there are answers amongst us. It was only minutes before someone asked the question “could genetic markers be found for myrtle rust resistance” and the answer was given that there had already been work done on this and I started to feel quite optimistic about the future and my mind started wandering around how many fab new ornamental plants we could have with this breeding technique.
Then there was all the talk and presentations around mycorrhizas & trichoderma which got me thinking ‘underground’.
While robotics is not really my thing, but when I saw the cool stuff Waikato University was involved in, you couldn’t help being addicted!
After participating in the Science Summit, you realise that it is forums such as this that extend your mind and your imagination and being in amongst a diverse range of people from all sectors is critical to this but we must reach out.
We must reach out to the science community, the team leaders, communicators and the universities and let them get to know us the people involved in Plant Production, our industry. All we need to do is to be a willing participant with an open mind and a smile on our dial!
Thanks to the board of NZPPI for the vision and making it happen.
Informed by the Summit, we're moving rapidly on scoping the approach to the development of a science and innovation strategy. And then to the funding of the strategy development. We'll have a report on progress for Conference.
The Board has also identified an early project to identify, collate and/or improve access to the wealth of research is already available and improve access to this.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of AGMARDT