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Geary addresses international horticulture gathering

7/1/2013

Horticulture industry leaders from around the world gathered in Italy on June 23-26 for a meeting on horticulture industry concerns. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss national and global issues around plant production and distribution. ANLA's and OFA's chief executive, Michael Geary, represented the United States.

Over the course of 3 days, delegates from 19 countries discussed common concerns and ideas on issues like disease and pest management, improving national and international country trade, government regulations, trade shows, staffing (including immigration/temporary labor programs), and the importance of flowers, plants, and trees for healthy living and working environments.

The European Nurserystock Association hosted the summit, and trade association executive directors and producers from large and small countries, including Canada, Poland, South Africa, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, participated. The outcomes of the meeting included a more collegial environment among the countries for ongoing dialogue on industry matters, sharing best practices, and an expressed desire for collaboration on research.

"With a collective effort, our industry can deliver the maximum benefit of flowers, plants, and trees," said Geary. "The roundtable of industry representatives was an important step toward solving our national and international problems, and developing a worldwide effort to promote the value of our products and services."

Speaking after the inaugural meeting, Maurizio Lapponi, president of the European Nurserystock Association (ENA), and representative from Italian Exporters Nurserystock Association said, "Nurserymen across the world are facing similar challenges and opportunities. ENA recognized this fact and decided to arrange the first worldwide roundtable where producers and industry associations could come together to discuss challenges and consider ways to address them."

At the conclusion of the roundtable a formal statement from the delegates was agreed to and issued. Along with acknowledging the benefits of plants and trees to society, the statement calls on the world's governments to help educate people on the benefits of plants, and invest additional public funds in plants and our industry because this will play a key role in the long-term health of our environment.