The 2022 Citrus Technical Forum (originally scheduled to be held in March 2021, but postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions) was held successfully on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, on March 8-9, 2022.
Despite the uncertainty created by the omicron COVID-19 strain, as well as flooding in northern Australia two weeks prior to the event, the two-day event attracted more than 330 delegates from all sectors of industry. There was minimal disruption to the program, with several speakers providing a pre-recorded video instead of attending in person.
The program contained several sessions of information on how the pandemic may shape the year ahead, with specialists providing analysis on global food markets, international market trends, supply chain issues and labour. Keynote speakers included Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) President, Christian Carvajal; Rabobank senior analyst – consumer foods, Mick Harvey; Port of Melbourne Head of Business Development, Leatrice Treharne; and Pilar Plaza, from the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, Spain.
Additional sessions focused on new technology and R&D updates in the areas of orchard management, pest and disease management, biosecurity, nursery development, new varieties, and commercial technology. There was also a separate postharvest session.
A trade show of commercial exhibitors included the latest equipment to improve efficiency and productivity; scientists were also available as part of the R&D poster presentation to detail research into current problems. Abstracts of research were included in the official program and researchers had the opportunities to present their posters to industry delegates.
A post-event survey showed a high satisfaction rate from delegates, with 88 per cent of those responding saying they would attend the 2024 Tech Forum, based on their experience; 90 per cent rated their overall experience as good or excellent. Importantly, 70 per cent of survey respondents said they received information that they would apply to their business over the next 12 months.