The Maluma Symposium held in South Africa in March was a big success, with a much larger attendance than last year and a stronger focus on farming methods such as trellising, amid growing excitement for the cultivar around the world.
The annual two-day event is hosted in the Limpopo province by Allesbeste, the global variety owner, and includes educational sessions, networking opportunities and farm visits.
This year there were 515 registered attendees, which is up 24% on 2018 and 160% on 2015. That figure includes 54 international guests from 11 different countries, as well as 53 government officials and 56 developing farmers, according to Zander Ernst of Allesbeste.
"We were at an almost even split between producers and non-producers," Ernst said. "254 farmers in one hall dedicated to one cultivar. It's nearly 70% of our industry - that is impressive."
He said the attendees really enjoyed the day, with many people still surprised at the amount of pioneering work done by Allesbeste as a single entity.
"People comment regularly that they are now highlighting the day on their annual calendars, to be sure not to miss it," he said. "It has become a highlight on the global avocado calendar, and those who miss out on the day miss out on groundbreaking work being done on the avocado industry."
He added that attendees were increasingly impressed with the trellising work that Allesbeste has done, which is proving more and more that it's a viable growing method and "possibly the future of avocado production".
"Obviously we still have much to learn but increased yields of 300% to even 650% in initial production begs the question where it can go if more and more trellis orchards are established, as more can be learnt in a shorter timeframe by having comparisons in different techniques between orchards," he said.
According to Ernst, Maluma is now reaching an"inevitable production scale where market resistance is becoming less and less".
"The market is growing increasingly fond of the industry-leading seed to flesh ratio that means more bang for buck for the consumer. Maluma’s shelf life when handled according to our protocols far outlasts all the established cultivars. We also see that many agents and retailers grow more and more fond of Maluma’s internal and even more external appearance."
Excitement continues to grow globally for Maluma, he added, saying that many regions such as Chile, Mexico and California "cannot wait to produce" the variety and see how it performs in their climates.