The ninth-annual Maluma Symposium taking place in South Africa next week is due to have a higher international turnout from stakeholders of production countries around the world, as the rapidly expanding avocado cultivar builds its global presence.
The two-day event will be hosted by variety owner Allesbeste in the Limpopo province on March 13 and 14 and will welcome around 500 attendees, up from a little under 400 last year. This figure will include more than 50 international guests, which is around double last year's number, according to Zander Ernst of Allesbeste.
"It’s good to see increasing development of the Maluma Symposium internationally. It's gaining traction with people from around the world," he said.
While he said most people attending the event have Maluma trees planted, there will be people participating from across the whole supply chain, including marketers, breeders and researchers. The symposium includes presentations, workshops and farm visits and brainstorming.
"The symposium will also host more than 100 upcoming black farmers and dignitaries representing the Department of Agriculture in South Africa," Ernst said.
This year the symposium will be more focused on farm-level aspects of Maluma such as high-density plantings, trellising and rootstock trials, with the overall aim of helping to boost growers' efficiencies and economies of production.
"We want to move the boundaries of production and see how can we improve on what we're doing," said Ernst.
"So many cultivars hit the market and then disappear, but our vision has been that whatever we do with Maluma we need to make it as sustainable as possible," he said, emphasizing that the aim is for Maluma to continue to be the biggest competitor to Hass several decades down the line.
"The aim is not to merely fill a niche or gap in the market as with most cultivars," he said.
Maluma continues strong global growth
Maluma orders from Allesbeste Nursery - one of the biggest in South Africa - have grown significantly over the last couple of years, and are now greater than Hass with around a 60:40 share in favor of Maluma, Ernst said, noting that some of the biggest advantages are its large sizings, adaptability to warm climates and high yields.
The same growth trend is being seen in many other growing countries, he said, especially in Peru and Australia - the two other largest Maluma production regions.
He added that the company was now pushing quite hard to achieve a 12-month supply by targeting growth in countries like Mexico, Chile, Israel and Spain.
"Maluma will be a huge opportunity for Chile as it is a semi-dwarfing cultivar that is well suited and adapted for high-density plantings, more so than Hass which is a vigorous grower," he said.
"In Colombia, we're still struggling to get the plant material in, but it's now in Mexico and the U.S., and Israel and Spain have recently started selling it on the local market. Within three to four years we expect we'll have a relatively good year-round supply."
For more information on the Maluma Symposium, click here.