Professor Umezuruike Linus Opara, PhD, CEng, CFS - Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

Professor Umezuruike Linus Opara, PhD, CEng, CFS

Professor Umezuruike Linus Opara, PhD, CEng, CFS

Distinguished Professor and DST‐NRF South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology; Incoming President, International Commission of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering; Founding President, Pan African Society for Agricultural Engineering; Founding Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Postharvest Technology & Innovation; Co-operating Editor, Agricultural Mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Professor Linus Opara is the founding management committee member at the Centre for Postharvest & Refrigeration Research at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. There, he also serves at the Foundation Program Director of Engineering Technologies, and as a Senior Lecturer in Postharvest Engineering. Previously, he led the transition of research programs in engineering technologies of former Wellington Polytechnic in its merger with Massey University.


Opara is also the Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and an Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University. In this capacity, he established a new academic program and research laboratory on postharvest technology, and transformed the AES into a national centre that provides extension services and develops value-added food products.


Additionally, Opara is a Visiting expert in Postharvest Technology for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In this role, he has provided advised policy surrounding food security and postharvest food losses. He also published a highly-cited article on “Food Traceability from Field to Plate,” in response to global crises due to food-borne illnesses and related deaths


Opara has developed and implemented training programs on postharvest management techniques across the world. He also established the South African Chair in Postharvest Technology at Stellenbosch University—a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary international research entity for innovation and human capacity development. Opara has also nurtured partnerships on human capacity development with agricultural research organizations and universities in Africa, and has trained research staff in countries across the continent.


In less than nine years, Opara trained and mentored over 50 postgraduate students from 13 African countries. In this time, he also initiated and led a new research program to support the emerging pomegranate fruit sector in South Africa, which has contributed over $12 million in direct and indirect benefits to the South African economy. He has been recognized as the leading global researcher on postharvest technology for pomegranates. 


Opara has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, primarily in the area of agricultural technology and food science. As a result, he was recently added to the 2019 Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers List. Opara is also the recipient of the Impact Research and Science in Africa Award, granted by the Regional Universities’ Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture in Africa. Finally, he has received the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Continental Award for Life and Earth Sciences.


  • PhD, Agricultural Engineering, Massey University, New Zealand
  • MEng, Agricultural Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • BEng, Agricultural Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
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