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International elite of Horticultural Community to gather in Bucharest:The European Congress of Horticulture 2024, an important event brought to Romania by USAMV of Bucharest

15 Februarie 2024

Romania will host the European Horticulture Congress (EHC 2024) in May 12-16, 2024. University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest (USAMV) talked the International Society of Horticultural Sciences (ISHS) into grant our country the planning of this important event in international horticulture. This event happens every 4 years. The Congress ( will take place in the Palace of Parliament, one of Romania s iconic buildings. The event will bring together 1,000 participants from more than 60 countries. All of them will participate in 10 scientific symposia, 11 technical tours and 5 professional tours in the most important horticultural areas of Romania. Florin Stănică, PhD Univ. Prof., president of EHC 2024 and vice-rector of USAMV of Bucharest, related about essential details of this edition that marks the increased complexity and improved attractiveness, while having a background of a paradigm shift at ISHS level, meaning the aim of being recognized as a global leader in horticultural research and innovation. We also discover what our country and Romanian horticulture gain through the central role it plays in 2024 in this strategic field, on a European and global level.

USAMV Bucharest talked ISHS into granting Romania the planning of the most prestigious and representative event in European horticulture. What arguments led to this favorable decision?
The European Congress of Horticulture represents a great opportunity for Romania to promote its achievements in the field of horticultural research and science, within an extended international framework.
As the representative of Romania in the ISHS Council, together with Prof. Gheorghe Glăman and Dr. Costel Vînătoru, I had a special collaboration with the former president, Prof. Yüksel Tüzel, who led the institution until 2022. Ms. Yüksel Tüzel visited USAMV of Bucharest in 2018 and she was impressed by our university s infrastructure. She asked us, during an informal discussion, whether we want to plan this event in Romania. This happened immediately after COVID-19 restrictions and after an online edition in Germany, in 2020. We certainly thought it a special opportunity for Romania and we submitted an application. Although two other countries competed, only Romania has reached the presentation phase before the ISHS Executive Committee. Hence, we made a video to support our proposal, showing the venue and some defining ideas related to the content and promoting the event. Romania s application was also supported during the International Congress of Horticulture in Angers, in August 2022. It was then that ISHS Council and Executive Committee approved our application.

On that occasion we also suggested changing the title from Symposia for Horticulture in Europe to European Horticulture Congress (EHC), for the 5th edition. A Congress represents an event of a much larger magnitude, with several symposia in parallel. We also suggested that the first symposium to present the history of horticulture in Europe, since it is important to mark the evolution of National Horticulture Societies in European countries, while mentioning personalities who have helped to develop the horticultural sectors or presenting specific sectors. For instance, history of greenhouse constructions, history of fruit growing or of winemaking in a certain country. This idea was very well received.

The opportunity of a century
USAMV of Bucharest has been holding for years the event called Agriculture for Life, Life for Agriculture. This emblematic event is internationally visible and appreciated. How important is this for supporting USAMV s application?
Indeed, by holding this event, USAMV of Bucharest has increased its visibility across Europe and the world. The conference is now in its twelfth edition. However, Romania hosted three important international symposia until now, all of them held under the auspices of ISHS. These were the Peach Symposium, in 2017, the 9th Southeast European Symposium on Vegetables and Potatoes, and the 6th Chinese/Dobrogean Persimmon Symposium, both of them in September 2023. EHC 2024 will conclude our focus to promote Romanian horticultural science and to accommodate the most prominent representatives of the field in Bucharest and Romania.

The community formed by Faculty of Horticulture from Bucharest and other specialized faculties in the country is very active in international symposia organized by ISHS. And this also mattered a lot to accepting our application. Also, Romania has over 100 members in ISHS. Moreover, we have active members in ISHS s boards, being present at every meeting. All these mattered and gave Romanian horticulture the opportunity to be the center of a special event. If we take into account that the event takes place once every 4 years and multiply this by the number of countries in Europe, we come to realize that planning of EHC is an opportunity of a century.

This edition is all the most important as it takes place in an anniversary year for ISHS. ISHS celebrates 65 years since its establishing, in 1959. At the same time the Faculty of Horticulture in Bucharest turned 75 years old in 2023. In the same year, the Romanian Society of Horticulturists celebrated 110 years, while the Educational Research and Development Base for Viticulture and Pomiculture Pietroasa and Istrita within USAMV of Bucharest celebrated 130 years. Hence, the junction of many historical moments in Romanian and European horticulture. This brings attention to this field s decades of traditions and achievements, speaking about focus on developing a vital area of agriculture. USAMV of Bucharest manages to focus on all these unique moments, at the highest level, in the most attractive way. USAMV of Bucharest focused on national history and tradition last year, while now it has the opportunity to highlight the history, traditions and „fruits” of European horticulture. We are accompanied in this endeavor by the Romanian Society of Horticulturists, which is a co-organizer of EHC 2024. The Romanian Academy holds Representation.

The change of the paradigm
The event changes its name, while also changing the paradigm: ISHS aims at being recognized as a global leader in horticultural research and innovation. USAMV of Bucharest facilitates this transformation.
Indeed, EHC 2024 represents a change of paradigm. From a niche approach, we move to a comprehensive way of covering the reality in the field, with 10 varied symposia, aiming to cover all of the current horticulture subjects.

This event s motto is „A turning Point in Horticulture”, which highlights the transformation we spoke before. As it is the case in general agriculture, the horticultural field is also facing important challenges. The symposia address sensitive and current topics, such as sustainability, resilience, climate change, biodiversity, artificial intelligence, robotization and everything related to intelligent horticulture and new technologies. These are elements the progress cannot be made without. This is why we mainly talk about hortivoltaics and less about agrivoltaics, because most solar panels electricity production applications are to be found in horticulture.

The main activity centers
How is the new event planned? Which will the major interests be?
No less than 10 symposia will captivate the participants with the most relevant topics from current and future of horticulture perspectives. The congress brings together 30 keynote speakers internationally recognized for their notable expertise in the field of horticulture. They cover a wide range of disciplines and talk about the latest discoveries and research in the field. The executive leadership of ISHS will be present, as well as many of leaders of divisions in ISHS, and other economic and political personalities.

Scientists, teachers, specialists from various educational and research institutions in Europe and around the world will be present, along with representatives of horticultural companies. We will hold an industrial exhibition and we invite companies that activate in one of the fields of products, planting material, equipment and services. Thus, we are able to get numerous Romanian farmers to approach the latest research and science results and trends, to talk to specialists from companies and first-rate institutions in Europe. We also broadened the spectrum of participants: along with colleagues from universities and faculties of horticultural or agronomic profile in Romania, we invited colleagues from polytechnic universities and universities with faculties that cover aspects complementary to the horticultural field, related to robotics, artificial intelligence, engineering, information and communication technology, food industry, etc.

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