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International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Elias Fereres

Dr. Fereres’ professional area of expertise is centred on the sustainability of water-limited agriculture and on the role of water in agriculture and the environment. Research activities during his career included topics such as irrigation water management, deficit irrigation strategies with emphasis on horticultural crops, efficient use of limited water supplies in drought situations, agricultural water use optimization, modelling crop yield response to water, water management at different scales, and water and soil conservation. He is currently emeritus professor in the School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering, University of Córdoba, Spain, and researcher at the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, Scientific Research Council of Spain (IAS-CSIC). He is a co-author of the FAO publication I&D66 on crop yield response to water, and of the AquaCrop simulation model. Dr. Fereres is a former member of Technical Advisory Committee of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and he is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain and of the Academia Europaea. He has published about 200 scientific papers, which have achieved over 30,000 citations in Google Scholar, and has directed over 40 doctoral theses. His most recent work deals with the assessment of water productivity in the Middle East and North Africa under the auspices of the FAO.

Dr. Samuel Ortega-Farias

Dr. Samuel Ortega-Farias obtained a Bachelor's degree in Agronomy Science (viticulture and enology) at the Catholic University (Chile). He obtained both Master and Ph.D. degrees from Oregon State University (USA) with a major area in bio-mathematical modeling and soil–water–plant–atmosphere relationship. He is currently working as a professor at the Agronomy School, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Talca (Chile). Furthermore, he is the Director of the Research and Extension Center for Irrigation and Agroclimatology (CITRA). His research has focused on regulated deficit irrigation, sustainable water management, and mapping evapotranspiration and plant water status using remote sensing imagery obtained from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellite remote sensing platforms. Finally, Dr. Ortega-Farias is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal "Irrigation Science" (Springer Nature). (

Prof Sylvester Mpandeli

Prof Sylvester Mpandeli (PhD) is the Executive Manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture at the Water Research Commission (WRC) since May 2018, he was a Research Manager responsible for the Water Utilisation in Agriculture from May 2013 to April 2018. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture at the University of Venda since August 2013.  He was the Chairman: African Regional Working Group (AFRWG) of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and also the Deputy Chairman: South African National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (SANCID) from 2015 to 2022. He represents the South African Regional Irrigation Association (SARIA) at the International Executive Council (IEC) of ICID.  Currently, he is a board member at the Applied Centre for Climate & Earth Systems Science (ACCESS), Board member at the South African Weather Service (SAWS), he’s part of the Climate Change Advisory team that advises Premier of Gauteng Province on climate change, water and agriculture issues. He is the Chairperson of the Water JPI Advisory Board of the European Commission and co-chairs the NRF – NOW Advisory Committee from 2020 to 2023. He was recently elected Vice President of the ICID. Before joining the WRC, Prof Sylvester Mpandeli worked at the Department of Environmental Affairs as Director: Climate Change Adaptation Resource Sectors at the Department of Environmental Affairs between October 2012 to April 2013. He was also a Specialist Advisor on Climate change Adaptation issues at the same Department for a period of about three years from 2009 to September 2012. He worked at the Agricultural Research Council – Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC - ISCW) for 9 years (4 years as researcher focusing on Agrometeorology and then 5 years as a Programme Manager responsible for Climate Change). He worked at the University of Pretoria, Department of Plant Production and Soil Science for two years as a Research Assistant. Prof Sylvester Mpandeli was one of the climate change adaptation negotiators at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) representing the South African government from 2006 to 2013.  He has earned the following degrees between 1997 & 2006, Bachelor in Agriculture from University of Venda 1997, two honours degrees in Horticulture and Land Use Planning from the University of Pretoria in 1998 & 2002, Master’s degree in Agronomy in 2001 from University of Pretoria, he also obtained Postgraduate Diploma in Research and Development from ICRA in 2004, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree  in Climatology from University of Witwatersrand in 2006. He has been involved in Research & Development and Innovation for the past 22 years focusing on Agriculture, Water and Environmental sectors.  His particular areas of interests are climate change adaptation, food security, water - energy - food nexus and agricultural water management. Prof Mpandeli has published more than 140 scientific papers, book chapters, book technical reports and conference/workshop proceedings.