The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Root and Tuber Crops: Sustaining Lives & Livelihoods into the Future

Sponsored by the ISHS Section Root and Tuber Crops.

This Symposium will be held during the 29th International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane, Australia (17-22 August, 2014) (

Roots and tubers, some of the most important consumed crops, have a major place in our diet and include extremely important crops worldwide. These crops contribute significantly to income generation, sustainable development and household food security especially in low income countries which are mainly located in the tropical regions. More importantly, tropical root and tuber crops (cassava, sweet potato, yams and aroids) are essential as staple foods. Because of their flexibility in cultivation under a mixed farming system they can contribute to diversification for spreading risk to growers, creation of new opportunities in food-chain supply and opportunities to meet global food security needs. Despite extensive research on roots and tubers, many issues still need to be addressed such as improved production, plant-soil-water and energy management, postharvest utilization as food and feed, biotechnology, omics technologies, nutritional and health value addition and biofortification. Therefore, strategies need to be developed to address these issues so that root and tuber crops can play a significant role in ensuring food security, sustainable farming, and sustainable livelihood development.

The symposium will include oral and poster presentations and contributions are invited on the following themes:

  • Biology, biodiversity and conservation.
  • Plant, water and nutrient management, and overcoming biotic and abiotic stresses.
  • Crop improvement and Omics technologies for sustainable development.
  • Food, nutrition and health values
  • Postharvest handling, use for feed and industry, and trade and technology commercialisation.


Dr. Noureddine Benkeblia is Professor of Crop Science at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Kingston Jamaica. He is also head of the laboratory of Crop Science and Agricultural Programmes Coordinator at the same University. Noureddine has a long career in crops physiology and biochemistry, he is leading the horticultural science research programme and his research includes pre- and postharvest physiology and biochemistry of tropical crops. Prof. Benkeblia chairs the ISHS Section Root and Tuber Crops, has taken part in many international congresses as convener as well as invited speaker.

Dr Nick Roskruge is a researcher and senior lecturer in Horticulture and Ethno-horticulture at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is also Chairman of the Maori Advisory Board to the Environmental Protection Agency in New Zealand, Chairman of the national Maori horticultural initiative (Tahuri Whenua) and a Research Fellow in the National Bioprotection Research Centre. His research is mainly around the agronomy systems applied to traditional crops including kumara (sweetpotato), taewa (traditional potatoes) and also commercial systems. Nick has recently returned from the United States of America where he gave a series of lectures under a Fulbright Fellowship Award.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Charles R. Brown is a Research Geneticist with the USDA/ARS in Prosser, USA. Two varieties, (Yana and Muru) with multiple resistances to virus have been released in Peru and one in Turkey (Yayla kizi). Recently AmaRosa and Purple Pelisse, red and purple fleshed fingerling potatoes, derived from Dr. Brown’s crosses at Prosser, were released. He is the author/co-author of 120 publications in refereed journals, and senior author of 10 book chapters. Dr. Brown has improved resistance to pathogenic nematodes, potato leafroll virus, potato virus Y, and tobacco rattle virus and potato mop top virus. He identified new germplasm with resistance to fungal pathogens black dot, powdery scab. He has conducted research in the expression of red and purple anthocyanin in the tuber flesh demonstrating their high antioxidant values. Dr Brown has introduced the genes controlling high levels of synthesis of carotenoids from South American germplasm, dramatically increasing total carotenoid in breeding lines. He has characterized the iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and sulfur contents of advanced breeding lines of potato. Dr Brown has studied the origin of potatoes grown by Native Peoples of Washington State and Alaska. Photo by Stephen Ausmus.

Scientific Committee

  • Prof Noureddine Benkeblia (UWI, Mona, Jamaica)
  • Dr Nick Roskruge (Massey University, New Zealand)
  • Prof Craig G. Yencho (NCSU, USA)
  • Prof Umezuruike Linus Opara (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)
  • Prof Dimitrios Savvas (Agricultural University of Athens, Greece)
  • Prof Charles R. Brown (USDA-ARS, Prosser, WA, USA)
  • Foundation Prof David J Midmore (CQUniversity, Rockhampton, Australia)
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