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Leonard’s poster wins 1st prize!

Chijioke Leonard Nkwocha is currently pursuing a master’s in the Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University. In June this year, he was invited by the Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction, hosted by Iowa State University, USA, to submit a poster. His poster won first prize!


Leonard’s studies are supervised by Professor Corne Coetzee of the Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering department, Professor Umezuruike Linus Opara, Dr Alemayehu Ambaw Tsige and Dr Tobi Fadiji of the Faculty of AgriSciences, Department of Horticulture.


At M&M department, his research is in Refrigerated Container (RC) optimisation and characterisation for improved cooling of produce being transported. In recent years, studying the cooling characteristics, airflow pattern, and temperature distributions inside a fully loaded refrigerated container moved towards numerical simulation models, such as Computational Fluid Dynamics. Successful research in this field involves the use of experimental measurements to validate the developed CFD model.


“My study is focused on integral/reefer container logistics in the horticultural industry. This study aims to establish the capacity of the reefer container to cool down selected perishable fruits (apple and pear) from an initial pre-optimum temperature to the required optimum transport temperature, whilst maintaining the quality of fruits being transported.” says Leonard.


He completed his undergrad studies in his home country, Nigeria, enrolled at Stellenbosch as a master’s student in March of 2020, just before the Covid ’19 pandemic enforced lockdown. Although he regards this as lucky, it was nonetheless a very difficult experience trying to adjust well. He relied heavily on his adaptability skills and now he finds Stellenbosch an interesting place with a fascinating, unique culture and diversity.


After this accolade he is now invited to the virtual 3rd All Africa Post-Harvest Congress and Exhibition in September where he is part of the “Training the Next Generation of Food System Leaders and Researchers.” At this conference researchers present and exhibit on better postharvest management to reduce food loss and waste while securing nutrition in sustainable food systems.


The poster he presented was titled “Evaluation of logistic alternatives in refrigerated freight of fresh fruit”


Leonard’s wish is to spend more time in South Africa and make the right connections and networks.