- Author: Ben Faber
The 9th World Avocado Congress is coming up at the end of this month in Colombia (https://worldavocadocongress.co/). It should be a grand time to exchange ideas. This is following on the heels of Avocado Brainstorming held spring of 2018. This meeting in South Africa brought together avocado people from around the world, although a much smaller group than will be in Colombia this year. The Brainstorming was held in the country where the first World Avocado Congress was held in 1987. This is the country where the use of phosphonates was so clearly demonstrated to improve avocado growth in the face of Avocado Root Rot. Trees that were first treated nearly 40 years ago are still producing today. The South African avocado industry is still productive and is described in several articles in a recent “From the Grove” (https://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/articles/fall-2018-grove-available-online).
Several of the folks who attended that first World Avocado Congress were at this fifth Brainstorming, including Mary Lu Arpaia from California and Nigel Wolstenholme of South Africa. There were 80 attendees at this Brainstorming, representing 11 countries, the bulk coming from South Africa, but 18 cane from the US. The meeting was split into eight sessions over three days with time for tours of the nurseries and groves in the Tzaneen, Limpopo Province.
The session topics were:
• Providing for the Consumer: Health, Safety, Flavor• New Technology to Improve Avocado Production
• Challenges to Productivity: Diseases
• Challenges to Productivity: How the Tree Regulates Return Bloom and Crop Load
• Where Theory Meets Practice
• Challenges to Productivity: Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology
• Meeting the Challenges of the Future
• Tying the Loose Pieces Together: Planning for the Future
These topics no doubt will be further discussed at the Colombia Congress. For a summary of the discussions, check out the Brainstorming Report: