We have been very well connected across the world of late as we prepare the bid we will make at the World Avocado Congress in Colombia to host the same event in New Zealand in 2023.

This year our board approved the bid to host the congress, as they had four years earlier when we narrowly lost to Colombia. It would be of huge benefit for New Zealand to host such a congress and to have 1000 to 1500 avocado experts in New Zealand sharing their expertise, research and avocado passion.

Our own growers would have the opportunity to experience a world congress, hear the latest global research and network with others sharing their passion for avocados.

Tourism New Zealand is strongly supportive, both financially and through their team of conference experts, and we have a great NZ Inc team, incorporating New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) offices in Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

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We are talking to Plant and Food Research in New Zealand and the US, and we are calling on our avocado friends across the world for their support for New Zealand's bid.

NZ Avocado market manager Bevan Jelley and I attended an excellent workshop in Auckland for associations and entities who have already won their bid, or are bidding in the future to host international conferences in New Zealand. We had to race back to host MFAT with their visitor signatory, the mayor of Manizales. Manizales is located in Colombia, a city 200km from MedellĂ­n, where the World Avocado Congress will be held this year.

Mayor Cardona won a President's Prize to travel to New Zealand and learn about our agriculture industry. His first impression was that New Zealand is doing very well, making agriculture economically significant and profitable. Sadly, rain on the day meant his orchard tour was a bit restricted but he thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality shown by our growers, and the openness we shared about our industry.

We were very pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about Colombia and their avocado industry at the congress in September.