Prof Linus Opara
As a distinguished professor within the Department of Horticultural Science, Prof. Opara holds the South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology at Stellenbosch University. Earlier this year he was rewarded with the 2016 African Union Kwame Nkrumah Continental Scientific Award for senior researchers and has recently been elected as the incoming president of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR). His research interests focus on cold-chain (packaging, storage) and non-invasive technologies for fresh produce quality maintenance and measurement.
A graduate of agricultural engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (BEng and MEng, 1st Class Honours) and Massey University, New Zealand (PhD), he is a Chartered Engineer (UK), founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation (www.inderscience.com/ijpti), Chair of Section VI (Postharvest Technology & Process Engineering) of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (www.cigr.org), and Vice Chair of the Roots & Tuber Section of the International Society for Horticultural Science (www.ishs.org). He is a member of several national and international scientific societies.
Prior to his current appointment, he held several academic and management positions at universities in New Zealand and the Sultanate of Oman. At Massey University, he was a founding member of the Centre for Postharvest & Refrigeration Research (1995-2002), Senior Lecturer in Postharvest Engineering, Programme Director for Engineering Technology in the Institute of Technology & Engineering, College of Science, Coordinator of the Agricultural Engineering programme, Coordinator of the BApplSc (General) programme, and served as elected member of the Massey University Governing Council (1993-1997), University Academic Board (Senate) (1992-1997), Council Committee for the appointment of new Vice Chancellor (1994-1995), the Inter-Ethnic Research Committee (1992-1996) and other policy and governance bodies.
At Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman, Prof Opara held the positions of Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering and Assistant Dean for Postgraduate Studies & Research. He developed a new research programme and teaching in postharvest technology and led a Strategic Research Project on Postharvest Technology of Fresh Produce. In 2006 he received the university's Distinguished Researcher Award. He also served in several university and national policy and advisory committees including the university's Academic Council (Senate), Liaison Committee between the University and the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries Wealth, member of the University Quality Audit Committee, and member of the Quality Audit Panel of the Oman Accreditation Council.
In addition to his research and teaching activities, Prof Opara has participated in several international development projects on agricultural engineering and postharvest technology. He was a Visiting Expert on Postharvest Technology at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome (2000-2001), Agricultural Mechanisation Expert in Iraq under the FAO/UN Oil-for-Food Programme (2001-2002), FAO Expert Panel on Microbial Safety of Green Leafy Vegetables, FAO Expert on Postharvest & Marketing Systems and member of the Panel on Agricultural Development Strategy in Timor-Leste. He has developed and implemented in-country competency-based training projects on postharvest technology and quality management in several countries in the South Pacific, South East Asia, China, the Middle East and Africa.