Dr Julián Bartual

Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station of Elche,
Associate Extern Researcher for the CIAGRO-UMH, Spain

Pomological and chemical diversity in a pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) germplasm collection from Southern European countries

Dr Julián Bartual holds a degree in Agronomical Engineering and PhD in Plant Production and Microbiology. His work concentrated on research and extension programs on Mediterranean fruits. Currently, he is the coordinator of the regional research program on pomegranate; based on breeding, production, irrigation, fertigation, and physiological studies. Breeder of five registered and protected pomegranate varieties at the Valencian Research Institute (IVIA). He is part of the research staff in the unit associated with CEBAS-CSIC / IVIA called ‘Irrigation in the Mediterranean Agriculture’. His research activity can be summarized in the publication of more than 40 papers and documents, including international articles of high impact index, book chapters, journals, and contributions to conferences. Invited speaker in numerous international seminars and congresses (India, China, Mexico, Turkey, etc.). Organizer of technology transfer activities related to irrigation strategies in fruit trees. Member of the Spanish Society of Horticultural Sciences and the International Society for Horticultural Science. Organizer and Convener of the IV International Symposium on Pomegranate and Minor Mediterranean Fruits (ISHS) held in Elche (September, 2017). Author of numerous publications on pomegranate and other underutilized species. He has been designated as an expert in the ’The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP)’ (AIMS / FAO) working group. He received the MASTER 2020 award from ASFPLANT grower and nursery association.


Dr Oluwafemi James Caleb

Research Team Manager: Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Technologies (PHATs), Agricultural Research Centre, Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Value addition through agro-processing: alleviating chronic and hidden hunger in the 21st century

Dr Oluwafemi James Caleb is an Alexander von Humboldt and Leibniz-DAAD Fellow, hosted by the Leibniz-Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Potsdam, Germany. Until his recent appointment by Stellenosch University, he served as the Research Team Manager for Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Technologies (PHATs) at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) for the Stellenbosch and Nelspruit Institutes. He managed a multidisciplinary team of international Principal and Specialist Researchers in postharvest and agro-processing with particular emphasis on the development of innovative postharvest technologies and solutions, technology transfer to small holder farmers and SMEs within the agri-food sector. Dr Caleb is actively involved in human capacity development through the training of postgraduate students.

Dr Caleb obtained his first degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, in Nigeria, then his BSc (Hon.) with training in molecular techniques, MSc in Microbiology, and PhD in Food Science (Postharvest Technology Research) from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He currently serves as an Editorial Board Member on the Food Packaging and Shelf Life (Elsevier journal), an Advisory Board Member of Heliyon – Food Science, and an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. Dr Caleb is a National Research Foundation of South Africa Y-rated researcher (Promising young researchers). He is an active researcher in the field of postharvest biology and technology, food packaging and agro-processing for fruit and vegetables. Dr Caleb has published over 75 international peer-reviewed papers and contributed to various invited book chapters and keynote presentations at international conferences.


Dr Cheryl Lennox

Senior Lecturer and Manager of the Fruit and Postharvest Pathology Research Programme, Plant Pathology Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Postharvest pathology, a review of challenges and opportunities in the South African fruit industry

Dr Cheryl Lennox teach courses in plant disease management to undergraduate students and supervise postgraduate MSc and PhD students. The main objective of the Fruit and Postharvest Pathology Research Programme is to improve disease and decay control in deciduous fruit products through the design of appropriate integrated disease management strategies with reduced reliance on fungicides. Projects within this programme include the aetiology, epidemiology and management of postharvest decay pathogens of apples, pears and citrus.

  • ORCID Code: 0000-0002-6350-253X

Prof Lembe Magwaza

Lecturer of Agricultural Plant Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Non-destructive technologies for determining quality of pomegranate fruit: what we know and where we are going

Prof Lembe Magwaza is a Horticulturalist with a PhD in Plant Physiology, Postharvest Physiology and Technology. He is an experienced researcher in Horticultural Science, focusing on preharvest factors affecting the postharvest performance of citrus and subtropical fruit. His knowledge extends to issues relating to rind physiological disorders of citrus fruit, non-destructive evaluation and postharvest handling of fresh fruit. His research interests include seed technology, fruit export, non-destructive evaluation and fruit and vegetable packaging. Prof Magwaza is a Y-rated researcher with more than 15 years of research experience. He has published more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals, five book chapters and presented more than 20 papers in international conferences. Magwaza has supervised and graduated Ten PhDs, Sixteen  MSc and six Honours students. In 2018, 2019 and 2020 Magwaza was presented with the awards for being in the Top 10 Young Published Researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In 2019, he was presented with the Top 30 Most Published Researcher Award by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. As a member of South African Young Academy of Science, Prof Magwaza has made an ongoing commitment to improving South Africa through academically motivated engagement in community development, capacity building and mentoring activities.


Prof George Manganaris

Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology & Food Science, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) cultivation in the Mediterranean zone: a minor or a niche crop?

George Manganaris is responsible for the CUT Pomology and Postharvest Group (www.fruitsciences.eu). His scientific interests include the quality evaluation/phytochemical profile of fleshy fruits using physiological, biochemical and molecular approaches; the elucidation of fruit ripening syndrome with an emphasis on the development of physiological disorders; and the overall postharvest maintenance of fresh produce. His projects deal with the application of environmentally friendly methods for maintaining the quality of horticultural crops and the responsiveness of plants to abiotic stress conditions and priming agents. Dr Manganaris authored 57 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals with over 2700 citations. He is a Council Member of the International Society for Horticultural Science, board member of the European Fruit Research Institute Network and an Associate Editor/Editorial Board member in ‘Postharvest Biology and Technology’, ‘Scientia Horticulturae’, ‘BMC Plant Biology’, and ‘Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology’. He was appointed by the Hellenic Authority for Higher Education to serve as an external evaluator for the accreditation of Academic Institutions and their study programs process of 11 Departments in Greece. He has also been assigned to evaluate competitive research proposals at the European (Horizon, EUROSTARS, Innowide) and national level (Italy, France, Belgium, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland, Chile, Israel).


Dr Rajiv Arvind Marathe

Director of the ICAR – National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur, Maharashtra, India

Current status of pomegranate industry in India: challenges and opportunities

Dr Rajiv Marathe has a degree in Agriculture and Doctorate in Soil Science. He has a long-standing experience working with different ICAR institutes located in different agro-climatic regions of India: National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Central Citrus Research Institute, and National Research Centre on Pomegranate. His major contributions include soil survey and mapping, innovative plantation technologies for marginal lands, drainage aspects, water management for improved use efficiency, tissue sampling techniques, diagnostic symptoms for nutrient deficiencies, organic nutrient supplements, standardization of potting media and nutrient doses for various rootstocks in containerized nurseries and high-density plantation techniques for both pomegranate and citrus. He was instrumental in developing two pomegranate varieties and releasing one promising citrus rootstock. He has published more than 60 research papers in reputed journals, three review articles, six books, four training manuals, six book chapters, 70 presentations in seminars and conferences, four technical bulletins, six extension bulletins, five technical articles, 14 popular articles, and delivered one radio talk and three television programmes.  He received Fellow awards from the Indian Academy of Horticultural Sciences, Society for Advancement of Research on Pomegranate and Indian Society for Arid Horticulture, India. He is also a member of the Executive Council of Agricultural Universities, Institute Management Committee and Research Advisory Committees of ICAR research institutes, Scientific Committees of Krishi Vigyan Kendras, NABARD and commercial banks, Expert and Technical Advisor of CSIR, state governments and also worked as Nodal Officer of Soil Health Cards and Tribal Sub Plan, Goverment of India.

  • Total Citations: 541, h-index: 13 (Google Scholar)
  • ORCID Code: 0000-0003-0496-3931

Prof Ahsen Işik Özgüven

Vice Dean, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies,
Head of Department of Plant Production and Technologies, Cyprus International University, Northern Cyprus

Breeding and plant improvement of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)

Prof Ahsen Işik Özgüven holds a PhD in Horticultural Science from Çukurova University, Adana, Turkey. Her 33 years of professional experience as a Researcher, International Lecturer and National Consultant has given her a wide range of experience in farming systems, rural policy, legislation, strategy and rural development. Her primary focus in agricultural research is related to plant growth regulators and horticulture plants. She is also passionate about project management, research and extension strategy, rural development, and natural resource conservation. She served as the Convener of the 1st International Symposium on Pomegranate and Minor Mediterranean Fruits, established the Working Group Pomegranate and Minor Mediterranean Fruits on behalf of ISHS and was the Chairperson of this working group for two periods (2006-2012). She published 50 international and 65 national papers in scientific journals, proceedings and reports. She is a member of the Society of Horticulture in Turkey, the International Society for Horticultural Science, and the FAO-Mediterranean Selected Fruits Inter-Country Network.

  • Total citations: 648, h-index: 14 (Google Scholar)
  • ORCID Code: 0000-0001-8755-9728

Prof Sunil Pareek

Professor of Postharvest Technology, Director (IQAC),
Head of Department of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship & Management, India

Postharvest management and processing of selected minor fruits

Dr Sunil Pareek holds a Doctorate in Horticulture (Postharvest Technology). His research focuses on extending the shelf-life of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. He worked as Co-Principal Investigator in the World Bank-funded project on Value Chain Development in Underutilized Fruits. His publications include 75 research papers, 50 book chapters, 10 books, and 50 popular articles. He is an editor of the book series ‘Innovations in Postharvest Technology’ publishing from CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, US. He also contributed to technical and scientific meetings with more than 200 invited presentations. He is on the board of many policy forming bodies, has served in the scientific or organizing committees of 25 international conferences, served on evaluation committees for research grants, and on the editorial board of many journals, including Scientific Reports, Journal of Food Quality, and Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.


Prof Dharini Sivakumar

SARChI Research Chair in Phytochemical food network to improve consumer nutrition, Department of Crop Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
Honorary Professor, The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland, Australia

Progress in alternatives to Prochloraz® fungicide to provide avocados (Persea americana) that are safe for consumers

Prof Dharini Sivakumar’s expertise is in avocado industry research, notably in finding alternatives to replace Prochloraz® fungicide, which is supported by The South African Avocado Growers Association, Postharvest innovations and DSI-NRF. In this role, she has led the research team and played an instrumental part in setting up a community agro-processing enterprise; product and prototype development, especially for indigenous African plant food; developing postharvest treatments for market access for South African avocados via innovation; improving the nutritional quality of horticultural product via manipulating agronomy practices and establishing; and improving overseas research collaborations. The SARChI programme includes three postdoctoral researchers, two research assistants, 10 PhD students and 14 masters degree students and researchers from the Departments of Crop Sciences, Horticultural Sciences, and Biomedical Sciences.

She is currently an honorary professor at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), The University of Queensland, Australia, and a member of the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods.


Dr Alemayehu Ambaw Tsige

Senior Researcher, Africa Institute for Postharvest Technology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Packaging of the future: innovations in packaging design and cold chain logistical management

Dr Alemayehu Ambaw Tsige is skilled in computational fluid dynamics and artificial intelligence. His research and work experience encompasses energy-saving schemes for refrigerated storage systems and spray applications of plant control agents in cold stores. He has experience as a primary investigator in many industry-related projects, including postharvest loss prevention, energy conservation, and cold chain package design. He holds a BSc In Chemical Engineering, MSc In Process Engineering from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and PhD in Bioscience Engineering from KU Leuven, Belgium.


Elrita Venter

CEO of AgriEdge, South Africa

The South African pomegranate value chain: challenges and opportunities

Elrita Venter’s background in various fields in agriculture over the past 30 years gives her a broad understanding of fresh produce production, market access, and regulatory SPS principles. As a producer and postharvest pathology researcher, she is involved in initiating and developing new speciality crops with a specific interest in pomegranate production. She holds a Master’s Degree in Science (Botany) and Higher Education Diploma from the Free State University and is currently a part-time candidate PhD student in Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University.


Prof Tilahun Seyoum Workneh

Professor of Agricultural and Food Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Integration of innovative postharvest technologies, renewable energy and treatment techniques to promote sub-Mediterranean fruits in the African value chain

Prof Tilahun Seyoum Workneh holds a BSc degree in Agricultural Engineering from Alemaya University (Ethiopia), MEngSc in Agricultural and Food Engineering from the National University of Ireland (UCD), and a PhD from the University of Free State (South Africa). He has over 28 years of experience in multidisciplinary research of Agricultural and Food Engineering. He is a C2 NRF rated researcher and has published over 130 articles in multidisciplinary research areas of agricultural and food engineering, renewable energy and environmental control. He has developed low-cost technologies that assist in maintaining food quality. He also developed several anaerobic biogas digesters and solar water heaters for schools and dairy farms. He is a fellow of the South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers, a professional member of the South African Association of Food Science and Technology, and a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.