Dr Kathy Hurly

Dr Kathy Hurly was awarded a SASTA Gold Medal in 2008, for her tremendous contribution and dedicated service to SASTA and the ISSCT.

She has also been awarded Honorary membership of SASTA. “I would encourage all young scientists, engineers and technologists to use SASTA to profile themselves to the whole sugar industry.

They can also use SASTA to network with South African and SADC members and scientists from the universities and other institutes. SASTA affords an excellent opportunity for a young scientist to start building networks that will assist them in achieving their research goals.”

The SA Sugar Technologists’ Association (SASTA) annual congress provides the sugar industry – and sugarcane farmers – with a unique opportunity to stay abreast of the latest research outcomes and technology – and provides an ideal platform for networking and continual professional development. 

During the three-day congress, delegates are updated on agricultural technology and have the opportunity to hear about new developments in processing.

The plenary session on the first day provides practical insight into the challenges and lessons learnt  from the previous season. The exhibition component of the congress is where delegates can see technology in action and growers can speak to exhibitors about their on-farm challenges and receive advice on appropriate technology solutions. 

The SASTA annual congress in the only event in the sugar industry calendar where all industry members can come together socially. 

It is always valuable to have growers at the agricultural sessions to share their experiences and ask pertinent questions. In this manner, audience and technologists understanding is improved. In turn, growers who attend receive information that puts them at the forefront of new technology knowledge – it is interesting to note that growers who attend SASTA are often also early technology adopters.

This year, SASTA will be hosting a special workshop for growers to maximise the opportunity afforded by having Dr Hennie Groenewald, Executive Manager Biosafety South Africa, as the keynote speaker. It is called “All you need to know about Genetically Modified Sugarcane: The South African Journey Begins”. 

Professor Anne Stark will chair a session that will showcase students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and their investigations into the biorefinery and downstream products. SASTA is the only platform in the country – and potentially the continent – where growers can receive such a comprehensive update on these topics. 

SASTA Congress time allows for everyone to get away from their “office” and spend three days immersed in science and technology and networking with the industry technology leaders and technologists from other countries especially Africa. 

The congress provides the energy and activities that can be used to provide fresh ideas for business solutions. As importantly it provides a unique convergence of networking, learning and fun into a couple of days and who would not want to grow and thrive?