Over 100 delegates from around the world participated in the 66th International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) Annual Congress held in Qingdao, China from 15-19 September 2014. Opening the congress AIPH President, Vic Krahn detailed the many initiatives being developed within AIPH and said “This is a unique forum for bringing together the common challenges we face and to identify new ways to grow this industry that is so critical for people and planet.”
Hosted by the China Flower Association (CFA) and the Executive Committee of the Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition 2014, the congress included a tour of the fabulous Horticultural Expo that has already attracted 3 million people from around the world.
Within the Green City Committee members heard from Professor Liu Qinghua, Head of the Landscape Architecture and Horticultural College, Qingdao University, who described the work that has taken place to make the rapidly growing city of Qingdao a National Forest City and how the International Horticultural Exhibition has been at the heart of this. The objective of the project is “making the forest blend into the city and making the city embrace forest”. The plans have led to the planting of an additional 19,340 ha of trees in the city over the last two years, giving a 40% forest coverage rate. The overall economic benefit of the increase in horticulture in the city is estimated at 11.46 billion yuen (1.45 billion euro). The international horticultural exhibition has promoted the importance of Green City to show what has been done in Qingdao and to inspire other cities.
Commenting on the presentation Chair of the Green City Committee, Karen Tambayong commented “Visitors to Qingdao will see tree lined streets everywhere. This city has a population of 8 million people but they have placed the principles of the Green City right at the heart of all they do. This is a model for other cities for the future.”The Committee also heard from Mr. Zhan Erpeng, Deputy Chief of Planning and Design section of Qingdao Expo 2014 who explained how the development of the expo fits into the masterplan for the city.
The Novelty Protection Committee received a presentation from Mr. Wang Qi, chief of the Plant Breeders Rights section from the Chinese State Forestry Administration. He described how that in January 2013 the China State Council approved new regulations giving greater powers to crack down on infringements of plant breeders rights. He went on to say that a special operation was launched nationwide during June to November 2014, to find and tackle infringements of plant breeders’ rights in ornamental plants, including unauthorized production and sale of protected varieties for commercial purpose, counterfeit of protected varieties and use of un-registered names for protected varieties.
Committee Chair, Bernard Oosterom commented “In a country where development is so fast there are always concerns that plant breeders rights will not be taken as seriously as they need to be. I was very pleased to hear about this Chinese crackdown on illegal practice. They are putting in place systems and structures for the future too which will help the industry in China as well as growers and breeders in other countries.”
During the Environment & Plant Health Committee members presented the challenges their industries are facing relating to the use of water. Commenting on the discussion AIPH Secretary General, Tim Briercliffe commented “We have demonstrated this week that water truly is a global challenge for the horticulture industry. There is not a single member that cannot list problems with availability, quality and pollution. Robert Prince from Nursery Garden Industry Australia opened the debate and agreed that “Each member has their own strategy for dealing with water problems. Discussions like this mean we can share what we are doing, learn from each other and overall become more effective.”
The Marketing & Exhibitions Committee plays an important role within AIPH as it oversees the approval and monitoring of international horticultural exhibitions. The Committee received updates from Antalya (Turkey) and Tangshan (China) who are both hosting exhibitions in 2016 as well as Taichung (Chinese Taipei) and Beijing who have exhibitions in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The Committee also approved applications from Geochang (Rep of Korea) and Almere (Netherlands) for exhibitions in 2018 and 2022 respectively, subject to site inspections and compliance with regulations. Commenting on the meeting the Chair, Shinya Wada commented “International Horticultural Exhibitions are a great way to communicate the value of horticulture to the public. Millions of people experience plants face to face so it is good to see so many strong exhibitions coming up over the next few years.”
The Congress also included the gala dinner of the International Grower of the Year awards 2014 as well as a Green City tour of Qingdao and a tour of the expo. Reviewing the week AIPH President, Vic Krahn said “The Chinese horticultural industry operates on a vast scale. Whenever I visit China I am overwhelmed by their commitment to greening their cities and supporting their growers. We have been privileged to have been a part of that this week and to experience outstanding hospitality. For AIPH this has been another milestone congress. Our strategy has been further refined and I am looking forward to being able to announce more on this in the future. I would encourage any organization that represents growers of ornamental plants and landscapers to join us as we prepare exciting initiatives to make the future better for our important industry.”