Welcome speech of George Manganaris, Associate Professor, Cyprus University of Technology, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology & Food Science in 10th ISHS Peach Conference

«Dear Minister of Rural Development and Food Mr Georgantas, Dear Deputy Minister of Economics Mr Vesyropoulos, Dear esteemed members of the Greek Parliament, Dear Mayor of the Municipality of Naoussa – Dear friend Nikos Karanikolas, Dear friends and colleagues from Academia and Research Units, Dear Research associates and graduate students, agronomists and stakeholders,

Welcome to Greece

It is with great pleasure to welcome you in the exercises of the 10th ISHS Peach Conference, held under the aegis of the International Society for Horticultural Science in the city of Naoussa

I would like to thank the ISHS and the Municipality of Naoussa for their critical input in this endeavor and for a really pleasant and smooth collaboration throughout the last four years that this event is being developed.

The event is organized by my Institute, the Cyprus University of Technology where I am serving under the capacity of Associate Professor in the fields of Arboriculture and Postharvest physiology and technology leading the CUT Fruit Sciences Group. CUT or cut is the abbreviated term of the Cyprus University of Technology and based on this short name our logo in delegate bag includes a cut fruit. The University is located in the cosmopolitan city of Limassol that is actually the most southern part of Europe.

Notably, this event is being hosted in the city of Naoussa where I was born and followed my primary and secondary education.

Naoussa is one of the most beautiful cities of Greece, being the capital of the homonym province with a population of 30000 residents and combines the beauties of the plain with those of the mountain, offering a rich mesh of activities and services. More specifically Naoussa is crossed by the river “Arapitsa” whose sources are located in a spectacular place near the city which is the thicket of ‘Saint Nikolas”. This place is a must to be visited during your stay in Naoussa.

From a cultural perspective Naoussa is a historical landmark since it is the place where the greatest philosopher Aristotle taught the greatness of classical Greek thought and the ideals of Platonic philosophy to the son of the King of Macedonia Phillip II, Alexander, and the other nobles of the Macedonian court. We will have the possibility to explore this monument during our technical and cultural tour scheduled for the coming Thursday.

In addition, Naoussa and the wider regions of Imathia and Pella are the epicenter of peach fruit production in Greece with leading cooperative units with international impact and worldwide leading role in canning Industry. Greece is possessing the 40% of global canned peaches.

It is wort to note that Naoussa is the place were the peach production was first introduced in Greece back in 1938 in Lanaras farm thanks also to intensive efforts by an Italian agronomist who was hired for this purpose. His name is Carolos Vigato and there is a street in Naoussa with his name as a recognition of his efforts in the development of arboricultyre.

Naoussa and his people did not introduce only the peach cultivation in Greece but additionally they managed several years later to provide one of the very few peach fruits that are being marketed in Europe as Protected Designation of Origin products. What’s more, during the last few years, premium peach fruits that are being harvested at the optimum ripening stage are being marketed by the two leading cooperative units of the area with the brand names Naougusta and Vermina.

Based on the initial planning, this event was scheduled to take place one year before but due to the COVID pandemic we shifted the Conference by 2022.

Most of you are fully aware that we organized an exceptionally well-attended webinar series by nearly  800 attendees. This webinar series was comprised of 16 keynote talks equally distributed in 4 days. Almost all speakers are here physically present and I would like to express my sincere thanks for their critical contribution to make this webinar series a real success.

We strongly believe that science and technology can further fuel agricultural and economic prosperity. The current Conference  aims at bringing together all recent advances and new knowledge regarding the cultivation of peach, which as you all know, is one of the most competent cultivations.

The Conference aims to bring together researchers from diverse fields of study who share a common interest on peach fruit production covering the state of the art, spanning from breeding, development and testing of new cultivars, to fruit physiology and advancements on training systems, to pest and disease management as well as to aspects related to fruit quality postharvest management and processing.

We tried to bring all these disciplines together in a coherent manner. To this aim, we are glad hosting in this event 16 plenary talks from top-tier scientists. Additionally, the program includes 54 oral talks and 67 poster contributions. We do hope that the end result will be fruitful and productive as it is reflected in the Conference program and the Book of abstracts that have been disseminated to several thousands of recipients by electronic means throughout Conference and ISHS dissemination and communication channels.

I would like to acknowledge the contribution of our commercial partners and the significant support that we have received both by the local stakeholders as well as from global brand names. This is an entirely self-funded event and thanks to the generous support by 33 private entities in total  allowed us to provide subsidized registrations fees, particularly for the early stage researchers and additionally to include in the registration package a rich mesh of activities regarding the social program.

I am really glad that more ca. 30 ESRs have taken advantage of this offer and are actively involved in the scientific program of the event with both oral and poster communications in this event.

Allow me to mention namely our sponsors:

Our Diamond sponsors

ACN Naoussa – ASEPOP Naoussa

We will have the opportunity visiting them during the technical tour this Thursday

Our Platinum sponsors

YARA – Venus Growers – Sygenta – BASF – CORTEVA – Hellagrolip

That are being actively involved in the Scientific part of the program with oral talks

Our Gold sponsors

Vitro Hellas – Tsesmelis – NEOS ALIAKMON -– Ecomatik – TIMAC-Felix

Our Silver sponsors

Papakonstantinou – AC Episkopi – EUROCHEM – Bayer – Q-CERT – Agrofresh –

Valent Biosciences

Our Bronze sponsors

Emphyton, Milis, Vitaplant Fitotechniki – Agrology – Compo Expert – Agromilliora – ASPIS- ASEPOP Velvendo- Agrohellas -– Delcof – aAnadiag

And our media sponsors for the coverage of the event at both national and international level

Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the owner of this state-of the art Venue who accepted to offer this prominent area for the needs of the Conference and the VDL company for setting up this infrastructure.

To my knowledge this is the very first Open-Air Conference for scientific purposes. What’s more, it is located within the internationally awarded park of the Municipality of Naoussa.

I hope you to enjoy this intensive week in Naoussa».