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Mérida beats rivals to host international papaya summit

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Papayas are grown Yucatán, which is now hosting an international summit celebrating the fruit. Photo: Pamasur

Mérida, Yucatán — Papaya producers from around the world will hold their next workshop in Mérida, which was chosen over contenders such as Brazil and Hawaii.

Canada, the United States, Brazil, India, Costa Rica and 10 Mexican states will be represented when the Papayeros Summit convenes at the El Conquistador hotel Oct. 24-27.

The event is sponsored by the International Society of Horticultural Sciences. Dr. Jorge Santamaria Fernández, head researcher for the Center for Scientific Research of Yucatán (CICY), is one of the summit’s coordinators.

Topics will include fruit genetics, tolerance to diseases, managing drought, commercialization and the use of papaya for medical purposes. Papaya is a healthy food and protects the body during times of high medicine consumption.

Santamaría Fernández reported that it is the first time that Mexico will host the summit.

“It is a golden opportunity to show what Yucatán does well,” said Santamaría Fernández.

“There will be issues of great interest such as new opportunities to export to other markets because as of now Mexico only sells to the United States,” he said. “There are new markets in Europe, Japan, Canada, China and other nations that demand this fruit, now that the North American Free Trade Agreement is at risk.”

Previous summit were held in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Australia.

The summit includes a field trip to the Pamasur‘s papaya production unit in Tizimín, which exports the fruit, and a visit to the archaeological sites of Chichén Itzá.

The event’s closing ceremony will be in the Olimpo Cultural Center.

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