Varietal information will become more important as production of certain varieties will be more limited to those areas where they grow best. Not all varieties do well in all climates. I believe there will be a continuing trend and emphasis on producing the best possible variety for a specific area or even microclimate. Marginal production — and varieties not well accepted by the consumer — will decrease and be replaced.
In short, WAPA can become a clearinghouse and forum to expand the knowledge base of our growers and the marketers of our growers’ crops in the quest to increase not only consumption, but to preserve farms and farmland through more profitable returns to the growers.
Another example of how we can work together on research is my proposal to WAPA delegates to conduct a worldwide literature review on the health benefits and the phytonutrients in apples and pears.
When a good opportunity or health benefit is identified or discovered, I’d like to see simultaneous press releases in the world’s capitals. This can provide maximum exposure.
We’ve surpassed some significant hurdles since the bylaws were adopted in 2001. However, one of the initial and continuing hurdles is language. This was addressed in the WAPA bylaws, which established English as the group’s official language.
But language remains a barrier. While all delegates speak English, there are still some problems, as some speak better English than others. We are still working on this issue.
Other challenges that had to be overcome include the logistics of the meetings. There are doubters around the world watching closely and asking what WAPA will achieve. We don’t want to be just another level of bureaucracy and another set of meetings. We agreed to work around existing meetings around the world.
Early discussions also revolved around the logistics of membership, fair dues and an equitable voting system. Getting through these challenges early, as we did at WAPA, is important in order to move the organization forward.
An ongoing challenge is that of merging philosophies. We are continuously drilling down on each issue, addressing only those that can be affected by this group and not wasting time on the others.
Other challenges that we are addressing include the need for more retail input, as well as identifying groups in Asia that can serve as representatives in WAPA. There is a real need to involve China, but attempting to identify representatives there has been difficult.