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Horticulture Students Place In Top Three In International Food Marketing Challenge

Two teams of high-flying university students from Massey and Lincoln Universities have placed in the final three in the recent International Food Marketing Challenge.

The Lincoln University team, consisting of Grace Moscrip, Grace Mainwaring, Kate Sims and Emma Ritchie, came in third place. The Massey University team, consisting of Dylan Hall, Sre Lakshmi Gaythri Rathakrishna, George Hyauiason and Reuben Dods came in second place.

Massey student Sre Lakshmi Gaythri, who’s in her final year of her Agricommerce degree, says this year's competition was essential for putting her learning into practice.

"It was a great way to challenge ourselves to learn about the structure of the agricultural industry in the US, working on the challenge problem and coming up with solutions all within a short period of time," says Sre.

Horticulture New Zealand’s tertiary coordinator Kazi Talaska is wrapped with the result.

"We need to showcase horticulture for the dynamic, innovative environment it is," says Kazi.

"The horticulture industry allows students to innovate, put out-of-the-box thinking to use and prove that being technically excellent at what you do is important."

Kazi hopes that more New Zealand students get the opportunity soon to represent the industry on the global stage.

"Seeing New Zealand horticulture students do so well on a global stage is exciting for our industry. But more importantly, it’s exciting for our students who will go on to join our globally competitive companies and make a tangible difference in the world."

The virtual international competition run by the Food Distribution Research Society has participants from top universities around the world. The students had to develop a strategy to launch a blockchain technology platform by The Seam (a US agritech company) to provide supply chain transparency using time stamps and tamper-proof transactions.

The challenge for the New Zealand teams was to accelerate their learnings on blockchain technology and the market environment in the US which is highly different from the food systems here in New Zealand. A proposed strategy for launch needed to cater to the needs of consumers, small-medium scale farmers, food service, and institutional buyers within budget constraints as outlined by the client.

Grace Mainwaring highlights the challenge of the competition. "Throughout the ten minute video presentation we identified three key strategies to combat the issues including implementation of a Collaboration Expo, Phone-to-Field tracing method and a Dignity Margin which rewards producers who go above and beyond the minimal acceptable practice"

This is the second-year teams from New Zealand have competed in the International Food Marketing Challenge and achieved top three placings.

© Scoop Media

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