Over 1,000 delegates and 60 guest speakers are set to attend the World Potato Congress (WPC) at the end of the month, which is being hosted in Ireland for the first time.
The 11th WPC will take place from May 30 to June 2, in Dublin’s RDS, and will hear guest speakers and experts from across the globe share their knowledge and insights on the industry.
There will be three full days of presentations and talks about the key issues dominating the industry, such as international trade, sustainability and nutrition. The fourth day of the event will see the delegates tour a number of potato farms around the country.
More than 60 speakers will feature at the event including the European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, Dr. QU Dongyu, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, and Prof. Paul Struik, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Topics discussed will include the role of the potato in a changing world; the impact of the war in Ukraine on the global potato industry; potato research in sustainability; and consumer trends in fresh produce. There will also be a presentation from Canadian motivational speaker Chris Koch.
The Irish Potato Federation (IPF) competed with several other countries back in 2018 to win the right to host this year’s four-day event. To date, the WPC has been held on all seven continents, with previous host countries including Canada, China, Peru, the US and New Zealand.
The event was originally intended to take place in 2021 but it was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, the president of the IPF Michael Hoey said the delay brought opportunities to make the event even better:
“In many ways the event has become even more relevant as the global agri-food industry grapples with issues such as food security, global supply chain issues and the continued drive towards more sustainable food production systems.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue welcomed the opportunity to host a unique event such as the WPC and said it is “a great privilege for Ireland”.
“Seeing leaders in the global potato sector come to Ireland is a testimony to the industry we have here,” he said.
“The potato industry has undergone changes and challenges over the last number of years but central to the success of our sector has been our commitment to quality and dedication to excellence.
“The World Potato Congress provides an excellent opportunity for global potato professionals of all descriptions to come together to do business and benefit from shared learnings.”
Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia outlined that the potato has long been synonymous with Ireland, and the opportunity to host such a high-profile event will allow Ireland to showcase its knowledge and expertise on potato production.
“It will provide an opportunity to leverage the networking opportunities for knowledge transfer and sharing between countries which is invaluable at a time when the agri-food sector is facing immense challenges of sustainability, inflation and global supply chain issues,” she concluded.