Delegates attending the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) in Dublin have been told that the spectre of famine now haunts the world.
The man delivering this message was WPC Inc. president and CEO, Romain Cools.
“It is hard to believe that the world is facing up to such a challenge in the 21st century,” he said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic was partly responsible for this state of affairs with further pressure on world food security following in the wake of the war in Ukraine.”
But according to the WPC representative, potatoes can play a major part in meeting the growing challenge of food security that now exists in so many countries around the world.
“Potatoes are the world’s most efficient crop when it comes to both land and water utilisation,” Cools continued.
“Their role in taking struggling communities out of poverty is obvious.”
The WPC representative stressed the need for farmers in developing countries to be given the means by which they can tackle the challenge of rocketing fertiliser, energy and fuel costs.
“Climate change is another fundamental issue that confronts these very same farmers head on,” he said.
“The good news is that potatoes can play a fundamentally important role in allowing all of these objectives to be met in full.”
Averting famine by planting potatoes
Cools confirmed that discussions are ongoing between WPC and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to further encourage the growing of potatoes around the world.
“Potatoes can be grown and eaten locally within a relatively short period of time,” Cools commented.
“With the support of FAO we are currently seeking to develop an annual International Potato Day.
“This would ensure that one day in the year would be dedicated to the potato in ways that would encourage both the growing and consumption of such an amazingly versatile food source.”
The WPC representative also confirmed that this week’s events will culminate with a ‘Declaration of Dublin’, adding:
“This will signal the intention of all WPC members to encourage action by FAO on two fronts: To further promote the role of potatoes in tackling world hunger; and to endorse the principle of an International World Potato Day.
“Potatoes can be used to allow the world grow its food stocks in a totally sustainable manner,” he added.
“Apart from the tremendous yields that they can deliver, potatoes are an amazingly significant source of nutrition.”