The inaugural day of the World Avocado Congress taking place in Medellin, Colombia this week has drawn a huge international crowd amid a strong sense of optimism in the South American country for its future in the avocado business.
Around 3,400 people were in attendance from more than 20 countries. There are also 72 companies exhibiting.
The three-day event - which takes place every four years - kicked off with a welcome from officials including the Mayor of Medellin Federico Gutiérrez, Agriculture Minister Andrés Valencia Pinzón, and even a video message from the country's president Iván Duque Márquez.
They noted that the avocado industry in Colombia - now the world's fourth-largest producer - is undergoing breathtaking expansion. Thanks in part to its ideal geographical location and ability to supply the fruit year-round, is poised to take an increasing share of the international avocado market, of which it currently only has a 3% share.
"Without a doubt this is a very important achievement for the country," said Valencia.
"Prior to the year 2000, Colombia was not on the avocado map, and now we are organizing the ninth edition of the World Avocado Congress. This crop has been growing and we now have around 20,000 planted hectares of Hass avocado and almost 89,000 hectares if you include all the varieties we grow here."
Below is a selection of photos from the opening cocktail reception on Monday evening in the city's Botanic Gardens and from first day of the event at the Plaza Mayor conference center.
Attendees were treated to a plethora of talks on wide-ranging subjects related to all areas of the business, along with ample networking opportunities with professionals from every major supplying country.
Stay tuned form more in-depth coverage of the World Avocado Congress on FreshFruitPortal.com.