Is the golden age over for avocados?
Members of the global avocado community attending the World Avocado Congress NZ 2023 can expect to be challenged by Eric Imbert, an international researcher, agri-economics and food technologies engineer.
The World Avocado Congress, taking place in Auckland New Zealand April 2-5 will address the changing world of avocado production and consider how sustainable the global industry is across environment, people and economics.
“The golden age is over and the world avocado market is changing fast,” said Imbert, who is the lead researcher for CIRAD, the French agricultural research center working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions.
“Avocado is an incredible fruit; we have strong scientific evidence of its health benefits. The growth potential of the market remains very strong; however, production is developing too quickly now," he said. "It’s essential we deliver this message to all stakeholders of the world avocado industry, who are often small or medium size growers.”
With more than 20 years of experience in fruit markets across both commercial and research, Imbert is the publishing director of Fruitrop, CIRAD’s market news and research service specialized in the field of the international fruit trade. He and his team closely follow the world avocado market and produce vital reporting data and market analysis, providing a transparent overview of the avocado industry in key exporting countries.
“We project world production based on data ‘from the grove’ and speaking with relevant growers in key exporting countries," he said. "We also forecast the evolution of demand in the most relevant world markets and subsequently cross those two trends.”
For the World Avocado Congress, Imbert will update his research to include more data and information on Australasia and provide a vision as to how the world avocado market can continue to evolve in the mid-long term.
"A great part of the world production still comes from small to medium size growers, and the industry plays an enormous social and economic role. It’s important to ‘protect the market’ working in two directions: reducing the plantation rhythm and also investing more in promotion to stimulate the great margin of growth that exists everywhere in the world,” he said.
Imbert’s pertinent topic aligns well with the World Avocado Congress theme: Respectful; respect for people, respect for environment and respect for our future, said Jen Scoular, CEO of New Zealand Avocado and president of the World Avocado Congress committee.
“The congress will challenge what we think we know," said Scoular. "Our speakers will likely pose uncomfortable question and concepts. But, to ensure the sustainable growth of the global avocado industry, we must consider the phrase ‘growth occurs outside the comfort zone’ and all play our part in a vital conversation about the future of the avocado sector globally.
“The global landscape has vastly changed since the last World Avocado Congress was held in Colombia in 2019," said Scoular. "We continue to navigate the challenges of a post-pandemic world. While these challenges have forced some uncomfortable questions, they have simultaneously created and encouraged a future ripe with opportunities when it comes the changing world of avocado production.”
As part of the World Avocado Congress NZ 2023, topics will include the future of food, sustainability, climate change, food trends, food security, water and carbon lifecycles for avocado production, research and practical on-orchard application of research to achieve high-yield, agritech innovation, global supply chains, grower returns, and the ongoing challenges of food supply, to name a few.