Yesterday, the first edition of the Global Citrus Congress, co-organised by the World Citrus Organisation (WCO), CIRAD and Fruitnet Media International, was held online with more than 1.300 registered participants from 60 countries. The Congress was the perfect occasion for the citrus community to highlight the health benefits of citrus, as well as the sector’s strong commitment to environmental and social sustainability.
During this first edition of the Global Citrus Congress, WCO highlighted the economic and social impact of the citrus industry and its strong commitment to environmental and social sustainability. The consumption boom experienced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows that consumers are aware of the health benefits of citrus, like high Vitamin C content. These positive arguments are key factors to continue boosting the market and consumer demand. As the second wave of the pandemic reaches its peak in Europe, the importance of a healthy diet including plenty of citrus fruit should continue to be highlighted.
The programme of the first edition of the Global Citrus Congress 2020 included three sessions on key trends, challenges and opportunities for the global citrus community. During the first session, the main citrus production and trade trends were discussed. This panel included the presentation by the WCO Secretariat of the 2020-21 Northern Hemisphere crop forecast. CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development and WCO’s Technical Secretariat, discussed global citrus trends and challenges. IHS Markit also provided insight on processing market trends. During the second session, representatives of global citrus leaders including AM FRESH Group, Domainex Agricoles, Hispatec and Limoneira discussed the crucial role of innovation to attain sustainability goals across the citrus chain. The Congress was closed with a session on promotion & health, which highlighted the importance of joint promotion efforts to enhance global consumption of citrus. During this last session, the lessons from the Hass Avocado Board success story were discussed by the German retailer Rewe and citrus sector representatives Ailimpo, Wonderful Citrus, and San Miguel Global. The conference was closed with the remarks by WCO’s Chairmen Jose Antonio Garcia, Director of Ailimpo, and Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa.
Following the Congress, CIRAD’s Eric Imbert, WCO Technical Secretariat, noted that ‘With increasingly competitive and complex markets, an exchange platform like the WCO is essential to give visibility to industry stakeholders, help them make good decisions and better use the proven health benefits of citrus fruits to stimulate consumption’. WCO Co-Chair Jose Antonio Garcia also welcomed the Congress as a ‘great opportunity to meet the citrus family worldwide. The WCO is no doubt the platform to work together cooperating and sharing different views to face the new challenges in an uncertain scenario. Connecting with the consumers offering sustainable citrus is our commitment for a better and healthier world’.
WCO Co-Chair Justin Chadwick added that ‘The global citrus family is strong because we compete where we need to compete – ferociously but fairly – and we collaborate where we need to collaborate. We will join together to promote the citrus sector, to ensure our market share remains strong within fresh produce, to ensure that all consumers know about the characteristics that make citrus a favoured fruit choice. This Congress – possibly the largest virtual Congress in the fresh produce sector to date – shows the interest in this sector, the vibrancy and excitement that permeates through all in the global citrus value chain’.