New Zealand has been selected to host the next World Avocado Congress (WAC) in 2023 by attendees at this year's edition that wrapped up today in Colombia.
The Mexican delegation may have made the most noise in the lead up to the announcement at the event’s closing ceremony, but in the end it was the Oceanic island nation that won the biggest share of the vote. Kenya was the other nation in the running.
New Zealand received 64% of the votes while Mexico fetched 32% and Kenya got 4%.
The results were announced by Juan David Mondragón, president of the WAC 2019 organizing committee, at the end of the massive three-day event in Medellin that received a record 3,200 attendees - more than triple the number that attended the previous edition in Peru in 2015.
New Zealand Avocado chairman Tony Ponder (L) and CEO Jen Scoular with representatives of Mexico and Kenya
The ecstatic New Zealand delegation, which included New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular and chairman Tony Ponder as well as the country’s Ambassador to Colombia Lucy Duncan, promised to put on a top-notch event four years from now for the world’s avocado industry.
“To you all, our sincere thanks for opening your hearts and your minds to New Zealand. The journey for us begins today,” said Ponder.
“For us we are very blessed the wider avocado community has recognized one of the smallest producers, and will give you our commitment that we will welcome you in New Zealand and give you a very, very good congress.”
He also gave a special thanks to Scoular and her team for the work they put in to win their bid.
“Thank you so much for having faith in us and for voting for us,” Scoular said. “I am so proud to be representing New Zealand having won this amazing competition. It’s a fantastic day for our whole team.”
New Zealand is the world’s ninth-largest avocado exporter, and avocados are the country’s third-largest fruit export, she said.
Prior to the announcement there was also a video message from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying that the country was ready to open its doors to the international avocado industry.
The award followed on from a speech by Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez at the WAC closing ceremony, in which she highlighted the importance of sustainability in agriculture.