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People of Lincoln Agritech

Abbas Jafari

Precision Agriculture Scientist Abdolabbas (Abbas) Jafari says he brings the latest tools and techniques to the farm to help plants thrive.

When I was a child, I dreamed of many things for my future, but becoming a scientist was top of my aspirations. I was very curious about exploring the unknown, and I was fascinated by the intricacies of how things worked and the art of building mechanical components.

As I grew older, I discovered the perfect fusion in agricultural engineering. It not only has the excitement of scientific discovery but also lets me engage with hands-on designing and building, which gives me great joy and fulfilment.

My role as a Precision Agriculture Scientist aligns perfectly with my childhood dream of becoming a scientist. In precision agriculture, I explore and apply cutting-edge scientific principles to optimise farming practices and also work hands-on with advanced technologies.

Before joining Lincoln Agritech, I was an Associate Professor in Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at Shiraz University, in Iran.

One day, I stumbled upon an advertisement for a Precision Agriculture Scientist in New Zealand. The prospect of contributing to cutting-edge research in precision agriculture and also experiencing the natural beauty and culture of New Zealand caught my attention. The role also aligned with my expertise in agriculture and biosystems engineering, so I decided to take a leap of faith and apply. After a series of interviews, I received an offer to join Lincoln Agritech.

Relocating to New Zealand was the beginning of an exciting chapter in my career. The transition from academia to research and development has been both challenging and rewarding.

What does your job involve?

I often simplify what I do when explaining it by saying that I use advanced scientific methods and cutting-edge sensors to study and improve how we grow crops, aiming to make agriculture more efficient and sustainable. It’s like bringing the latest tools and techniques to the farm to help plants thrive, contributing to a more productive and environmentally friendly agricultural sector.

I specialise in using computer vision and Raman spectroscopy in biological sciences and agriculture. Raman spectroscopy is an analytical technique that uses scattered light to provide chemical and structural information about what’s being measured.

I do a lot of modelling and working with innovative sensors to make agricultural processes more precise. A lot of my work involves pioneering methods to measure plant and organisms’ biological activities. I focus on advancing technologies that help us better understand biological systems in agriculture.

What do you enjoy about it?

I really enjoy my work for several reasons. First, the constant exploration and application of Raman spectroscopy and chemometrics keep my curiosity alive. It’s fulfilling to be at the forefront of technology, pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve.

Secondly, the hands-on aspect of my role, especially in bringing new sensors into the field, adds a practical and dynamic dimension. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the tangible impact innovative technologies have on agricultural practices.

For example, we’ve been able to use Raman spectroscopy to detect very early which apples are infected with a problematic fungus – long before any symptoms show.

Combining scientific exploration and practical application, with the potential to positively impact agriculture makes every day challenging and deeply satisfying.

What motivates you?

New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and friendly people inspire me both at work and in life. The balance between a fulfilling career and the laid-back lifestyle here motivates me. I find joy in contributing to scientific research and making a positive impact on agriculture.

Outside work, exploring the beauty of New Zealand and connecting with its welcoming community adds a deeper meaning to my life. It’s the perfect blend of professional satisfaction and a vibrant, relaxed lifestyle that keeps me motivated.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the world, I would ensure everyone has equal access to unbiased information. This could help reduce conflicts and promote global understanding.