The World Avocado Congress, a highly anticipated symposium on the avocado industry that draws attendees from all over the world, is taking place in Medellín this week. With a crowd of about 3,400 visitors from over 20 countries, the event hosts speakers, conferences, and workshops covering a wide variety of avocado-related topics, from technical info on the most efficient methods of production to broad discussions about the future of the industry.
World Avocado Congress Makes Waves in Medellín
Making its debut in 1987, this quadrennial event has quickly grown into one of the cornerstones of the avocado industry, and brings in scientific experts and business leaders from across the globe. Speakers at this year’s event include Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director for the Hass Avocado Board, Dr. Mark Hoddle, Director of the Center for Invasive Species Research, and Dr. Nikki Ford, Director of Nutrition at the Avocado Nutrition Center.
Academic conferences offered during the Congress cover diverse subjects, from advancements in the use of rootstocks for commercial production to the wider changes in the global avocado market. Of particular interest this year was the expanding reach of Colombia’s avocado exports, which now have access to 45 countries, thanks to recently negotiated trade agreements with China. Agreements with Japan and South Korea are expected to be finalized in the near future, causing great excitement amongst Colombian avocado producers.
Another topic of much discussion was the progress that Colombia has made in entering the global avocado market. “Prior to the year 2000, Colombia was not on the avocado map, and now we are organizing the ninth edition of the World Avocado Congress. This crop has been growing and we now have around 20,000 planted hectares of Hass avocado and almost 89,000 hectares if you include all the varieties we grow here.,” said Agriculture Minister Andrés Valencia Pinzón.
Thanks to its favorable climate, readily available agricultural land, and easy access to high-end markets in Europe and the USA, Colombia is poised to increase its share of the international avocado market, which is currently at 3%. With foreign investment pouring into the country like never before and infrastructural development well underway, the mood at the World Avocado Congress was one of optimism and eagerness.
Not only did the symposium highlight the bright future of the avocado industry in Colombia, it was also a heartening moment for the city of Medellin, which has grown from a crime-infested quasi-warzone into a thriving international metropolis in only a couple of decades. In his opening remarks, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín, noted the tremendous potential of the new Medellín. With infrastructure projects charging ahead and investment pouring in, business people and tourists alike are flocking to the city, which has positioned itself as the new international hub of Latin America.
As the World Avocado Congress comes to a close today, industry players everywhere have much to look forward to. Growing demand in high-end markets and ever-expanding trade agreements have virtually guaranteed that the avocado industry will continue to experience strong growth for years to come.