The congress, which ran from Sept. 15 to 19, was 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 three million people from around the world.
“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,” said Vic Krahn, president of AIPH, during the official opening of congress.
| Vic Krahn, president of AIPH, during the opening of congress.
During congress, the Novelty Protection Committee heard a presentation from Wang Qi, chief of the plant breeders’ rights section of the Chinese State Forestry Administration. He explained 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, lasting from June to November, to uncover 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.
“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,” said Bernard Oosterom, committee chair. “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 meeting, members presented some of the challenges their industries are facing relating to the use of water. “We have demonstrated this week that water truly is a global challenge for the horticulture industry,” said Tim Briercliffe, AIPH secretary general. “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, which are both hosting exhibitions in 2016, as well as Taichung, Chinese Taipei, and Beijing, which have exhibitions in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The committee also approved applications from Geochang, Republic of Korea, and Almere, Netherlands, for exhibitions in 2018 and 2022 respectively, subject to site inspections and compliance with regulations.
“International Horticultural Exhibitions are a great way to communicate the value of horticulture to the public,” said Shinya Wada, chair of the committee. “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.”
AIPH is a co-ordinating body representing horticultural producers' organizations all over the world. It was set up in Switzerland in 1948 to stimulate the international marketing of flowers, plants and landscaping services. Current membership consists of 26 organizations from 19 countries and regions. For further details visit www.aiph.org.