Horticulture students in top three of international Student Food Marketing Challenge


Reuben Dods, Dylan Hall, Sre Lakshmi Gaythri Rathakrishna and George Hyauiason came in second place.

A team of Massey University horticulture students have placed in the top three of the Student Food Marketing Challenge 2021. The virtual international competition, run by the Food Distribution Research Society, has participants from top universities around the world.

The team, consisting of Dylan Hall, Sre Lakshmi Gaythri Rathakrishna, George Hyauiason and Reuben Dods, came in second place.

Third-year agricommerce student Sre 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 a problem and coming up with solutions all within a short period of time.”

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.

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

This is the second year that Massey students have competed in the challenge and achieved a top three placing.

Senior Lecturer in Horticulture Production Dr Svetla Sofkova-Bobcheva says she is very proud of the team’s achievement.

“It’s really good to see them participate in extra-curriculum activities that stretch their knowledge. They have worked very hard with the help of a mentor from Horticulture New Zealand and their effort has paid off with an astonishing second place in a student global competition. We are hoping to see more students participating in this and other international competitions in the future.”

Horticulture New Zealand’s tertiary coordinator Kazi Talaska says she is rapt with the result.

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

Ms Talaska hopes that more New Zealand students get the opportunity 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 globally competitive companies and make a tangible difference in the world." 

Find out more about agriculture and horticulture at Massey here.

Related articles

Massey announces top agricultural students
Agricultural and horticultural students win scholarships
Primary industries and Massey Agriculture celebrate student success