UNIZULU shines as it successfully hosts the 49th SAAB Conference

| A node for African thought

UNIZULU shines as it successfully hosts the 49th SAAB Conference

UNIZULU shines as it successfully hosts the 49th SAAB Conference

In a triumphant display of academic excellence, Senzo Maxwell Mthobeli Zwane, a fourth-year agronomy student at the University of Zululand (UNIZULU), secured the coveted first prize for the best poster in biotechnology at the recently concluded 49th South African Association of Botanists (SAAB) Annual Conference.

Hosted  at UNIZULU Richards bay campus, the SAAB conference brought together esteemed scholars, researchers and enthusiasts in the field of plant science. Zwane’s outstanding achievement not only highlights his dedication to innovative research but also reinforces UNIZULU’s commitment to fostering groundbreaking solutions in agriculture. Zwane’s winning poster focused on addressing the pressing issue of pest infestations affecting pineapple production in the Northern KwaZulu-Natal province. The study aimed to explore sustainable alternatives to synthetic chemicals, providing crucial insights for both commercial and small-scale pineapple farmers striving to preserve yield and quality.

Professor Nokuthula  Kunene, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research and Innovation, welcomed to all conference delegates. It was an honour for UNIZULU  to host the 2024 SAAB conference, aligning with its dedication to addressing environmental challenges through sustainable practices.

Themed, “Nurturing the Earth for Sustainable Growth,” resonated with the global call for eco-conscious agricultural practices. Zwane’s research, focused on sustainable pest control, perfectly aligned with the conference’s emphasis on finding holistic solutions for plant production and environmental preservation. The conference featured distinguished plenary speakers, including Prof. James Stephen Boatwright, Dr. Karel Dolezal, Mr. Kaylan Reddy, and Dr. Shakira Shaik. Their contributions enriched the conference, providing diverse perspectives on various aspects of Plant Science.

Prof Lehloenya the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Agriculture, and Engineering emphasized UNIZULU’s commitment to nurturing the earth for sustainable growth. The conference theme resonated with the university’s slogan  as a Node for African Thought, emphasizing the importance of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Zwane’s achievement stands as a testament to UNIZULU’s dedication to producing forward-thinking researchers. His research not only contributes to the field of agronomy but also addresses real-world challenges faced by farmers. As the SAAB conference unfolds, UNIZULU expresses gratitude to the South African Association of Botanists for entrusting the university with the opportunity to host this prestigious event. The dedication of the organizing committee, sponsors, and volunteers has been the driving force behind the conference’s success.

  • Dr Mbukeni Nkomo