Auckland: The world’s all-consuming love affair with avocados shows no signs of slowing down with record numbers set to attend a global industry congress in Auckland next week.
The 10th World Avocado Congress is expected to attract the single largest international delegation to a horticulture event held in Aotearoa New Zealand with more than 1,100 attendees from 32 countries joining key representatives from our local avocado industry for a packed programme of activities.
Jen Scoular, President of the World Avocado Congress Committee and CEO of New Zealand Avocado, says the Congress offers an unprecedented opportunity to promote our local avocado industry to the world.
“Though we only produce about 2 percent of the global avocado supply and we’re the ninth largest avocado exporter in the world, avocados are Aotearoa’s third largest horticulture export behind kiwifruit and apples. We play a significant part in the country’s horticulture industry, and we’re excited to have this showcased to a global audience,” says Scoular.
Many of the diverse group of over 750 growers, scientists, researchers, marketers, retailers, tech innovators, and investors joining us from overseas will be visiting Aotearoa for the first time she says.
“While we’re looking forward to our three-day congress programme, we’re thrilled to also be hosting over 760 delegates to the avocado growing regions on the Saturday and Sunday before the Congress. Congress delegates from overseas will be transported to eight locations including sites in Glenbrook, Tapora, Whangarei and the Bay of Plenty to experience our beautiful environment, our diverse avocado growing systems and our innovative supply chain processes,” says Scoular.
Following the fielddays, the three day academic programme will include sessions with eight keynote speakers and more than 130 presentations covering topics such as the future of food, sustainability, climate change, food trends, food security, agritech innovation, global supply chains and the lifecycle for avocado production.
“Given the unprecedented weather in Aotearoa, which has raised food security concerns for parts of our primary-production sectors, the topics being explored at the congress are relevant for all Kiwis. It’s incredibly timely to hear experts talk about the future of food, climate change and the global impacts on horticulture right now.
“It’s been a tough few years for Kiwi growers and the whole industry has faced ongoing challenges with the supply chain and rising costs of production. At the congress we’ll dive deeper into the changing world of avocado production, examining the global industry’s responsiveness, the opportunities and risks facing the future of the industry and how the global avocado industry can evolve more sustainably and respectfully.”
The World Avocado Congress is held every four years with previous events hosted in Colombia, Peru, Australia and Chile. Aotearoa New Zealand won the hosting rights for this year’s event in Colombia in 2019, beating strong bids from Mexico, the largest avocado exporter in the world, and Kenya, the sixth largest exporter of avocados globally.
The theme for the 2023 Congress is ‘Respectful: respect for people, respect for the environment and respect for our future’.
“Respect for people and land plays a special part in Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural identity and, as the global avocado industry continues to evolve, respect must be at the heart of this growth,” says Scoular.
The World Avocado Congress is sponsored by international sponsors Mission Produce, MAF RODA Agrobiotic, TOMRA Food, and national sponsors Darling Group, AVOCO, Radfords, Seeka, AgMardt and MPI. The event is supported by Plant & Food Research, New Zealand Avocado, Tourism New Zealand, Tataki Auckland Unlimited, the Hass Avocado Board, Horticulture NZ, Zespri, Mainfreight, and Oji.
Avocados in Aotearoa New Zealand by the numbers:
- 1400 growers
- 1800 orchards
- 5,000 hectares of production
- $234m industry value 2020-21
- 7.5 – 9 million 5.5kg trays per annum
- 11.7 tonnes average yield per hectare
- 13 licenced exporters
- 12 packing facilities
- 14 international markets