A delegation from the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) attended the 31st International Horticultural Congress (IHC) in Angers, France. The congress is the most important scientific event organized every four years since 1959 in the fields related to Horticulture under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS).

The ISHS is a truly global network comprising over 67,000 individuals, universities, governments, institutions, libraries and commercial companies, thousands of whom joined as individual members, in addition to a substantial number of institutional members and some 50 member countries/regions. The organization is a major source of up-to-date information on global horticultural research. ISHS aims to promote research in all branches of horticulture. It encourages the development of international co-operation, bringing together scientific and technical professionals to stimulate, facilitate and co-ordinate research and scientific activities on a global scale.

The ISHS hold over 40 specialized symposia annually, each focuses on a technical or research topic, including biotechnology, plant genetic resources, tropical and subtropical fruits, protected agriculture, soilless farming and post-harvest crop quality management.

In this regard, Dr. Mohamed Salman Al Hammadi, Director of Agricultural Extension Division and head of the delegation to the IHC, said that ADAFSA has presented a working paper on Abu Dhabi's experience in launching the agricultural extension application and the use of virtual extension.

Al Hammadi added the paper highlighted the application's most important features and services such as remote consultation; a feature enables farmers to get advice and guidance from ADAFSA's specialists and technicians, and understand ways to control pests and diseases.

The application provides virtual lectures to farmers and livestock breeders, dates of all events organized by ADAFSA, and information on all agricultural activities during the season, and the expected dates for the outbreak of diseases and pests, Al Hammadi noted.

With 2,500 delegates representing over 150 countries participated in the IHC, sponsored by more than 20 companies, universities, research centers and environmental organizations such as the FAO, this year edition was an opportunity to develop international collaborations. Over 25 symposia were delivered on various horticultural topics, including climate change, artificial intelligence, agricultural technology and innovation management, integrated management of plant pests and diseases, vertical farming, urban agriculture, and the most important post-harvest practices.

The IHC 2022 has provided a unique opportunity to gathering, meeting and debating on the main topics, including climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions, sustainability of production systems, food safety, public health, well-being, competitiveness and skills for the Horticultural sectors. The event contributed to boosting links between research, education and industry in order to facilitate the transfer and application of research for industry. It is also the place to motivate and encourage young minds in Horticulture for the future.

The IHC hosted the meeting of the ISHS members, where the final report of board members was discussed. The report highlighted the most important achievements, challenges and recommendations. During the meeting, members of ISHS new board were elected, including chairperson and those representing the continents nominated for membership in the new board. Moreover, the meeting witnessed voting for the host country for IHC 2030.

ADAFSA's working paper has received wide attention from the attendees, as many of them were keen to download the application, know about it, implement the idea in their countries, and learn about ADAFSA's leading efforts in horticulture.