Colombia prepares for World Avocado Congress 2019 amid soaring growth

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Colombia prepares for World Avocado Congress 2019 amid soaring growth

Colombia is gearing up to host the world's premier avocado industry event next year, the World Avocado Congress, which will take place in Medellin from Sept. 23 - 27, 2019.

The 2019 installment of the event, which is hosted by an avocado-growing country every four years, will cover a range of topics including phytosanitary issues, genetic resources, and growing practices.

The Colombian avocado industry has exploded onto the global stage over recent years, registering rapid growth and an average annual increased in planted hectarage of more than 10%.

Data from trade promotion agency ProColombia shows that production volumes peaked last year at 376,000 metric tons (MT). The main varieties it produces are Papelillo, Choquette, Santana and Hass, the latter of which has grown in volume by 126% over the last five years.

Meanwhile, Colombian avocado exports grew by 51% in 2017 year-on-year, making it the world's twelfth-largest exporter.

Industry expectations

Within the Colombian avocado industry, expectations for the future are high.

Jorge Restrepo, executive director of CorpoHass told Fresh Fruit Portal that the industry is excited to host the World Avocado Congress, highlighting that it is the only country with avocado production in the tropics.

"No other country produces there, creating a range of challenges and differences in respect to the other countries which have seasons, which also makes the technical aspects different," he said.

Many Colombian avocado growers have traveled to Chile and Mexico - two of the world's top avocado-producing countries - to learn about best practices, he said.

Restrepo added that representatives of many foreign companies have visited Colombia to learn about the avocado sector.

"When foreigners come they really value what they see in Colombia. They feel that the country is on a very good path," he said.

He also mentioned that as part of the World Avocado Congress next year there will be a series of 'AvoTours', which will visit nurseries, farms and facilities.

Jose Luis Gonzalez, commercial director of Hasspacol added the event would look at both the past and future of the Colombian avocado industry.

He believes that within a few years the South America country could become the world's number-two or three avocado producer.

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