12 Aug 2022

Top of the crops! Ireland all set to host World Potato Congress later this month

Ireland set to host World Potato Congress later this month

Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia; Michael Hoey, President, Irish Potato Federation; Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, launching the 11th World Potato Congress

Ireland may have a long association with the potato but it will only have the honour of hosting the World Potato Congress for the first time later this month. 

The Irish Potato Federation (IPF) has announced the details for the 11th World Potato Congress which will be held in Ireland, from May 30th – June 2nd.

Hosting this unique, global event was described as a major coup for the IPF who competed with several other countries to win a highly competitive bid in 2018. To date, the World Potato Congress (WPC) has been held on all seven continents, with previous host countries including Canada, China, Peru, USA, and New Zealand. 

The four-day event in Dublin’s RDS will feature more than 60 speakers and is set to be attended by up to one thousand delegates from over 60 countries.

Alongside a host of Irish experts, international speakers will include European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, who will deliver a presentation on ‘Europe’s Green Deal’.

Other presentations will include: Dr. QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations the potato in a changing world; President of the Polish Potato Federation, Tomasz Bieńkowski the impact of the war in Ukraine on the global potato industry; Lauren M Scott, Chief Strategy Officer, International Fresh Produce Association, USA consumer trends in fresh produce; Prof. Paul Struik, Wageningen University, Netherlands the future of potato research and its contribution to food security and sustainability, and Canadian Motivational Speaker Chris Koch.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue  who will officially open the Congress said: "It is a great privilege for Ireland to host this unique event, and to be seen once again as a global leader on the agri-food stage. Seeing leaders in the global potato sector come to Ireland is a testimony to the industry we have here.

"The potato industry, like many others, 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. 

"My Department is delighted to have sponsored this prestigious event, as well as establishing a bursary that allows delegates from developing countries participate in this global potato platform. This support allows these delegates to benefit from existing expertise in agri-business, science and development including all aspects of potato agronomy, production and marketing,” Minister McConalogue said. 

This will be the first time since May 2018, when the 10th World Potato Congress was held in Peru, that global potato professionals have been able to meet face-to-face due to Covid.

Michael Hoey, President, Irish Potato Federation said: “We were honoured to have the opportunity to bring this prominent international event to Ireland. Although it was delayed by a full year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.

"We are incredibly excited by the high-profile speakers and topics we have secured for this event and I would like to congratulate the organising committee, in particular Chairperson Liam Glennon, for their commitment to attracting such heavy-hitting speakers in challenging circumstances," Mr Hoey said. 

Sessions and Speakers
The RDS will host three full days of presentations and panel discussions on the key issues dominating the industry including international trade, sustainability, consumer trends, food security, health and nutrition; innovation and development. Irish speakers include: Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy; Professor Damien McLoughlin from UCD; Dr. Tom Arnold, Irish Government’s Special Envoy for Food Systems; Dan Milbourne of Teagasc; Ross Keogh, Keogh’s Farm and Nutritionist, Orla Walsh, among others. 

On the fourth day, delegates will attend a range of technical tours at potato farms across the country from O’Shea Farms in Kilkenny, Sam Dennigan & Co. and Maple Lodge Farm, owned and run by IPF President Michael Hoey, in Dublin, Meade Farm in Co. Meath and Wilson’s Country in Northern Ireland. 

The event will conclude at the Bord Bia Bloom Festival, where delegates will visit the ‘Eat Well, Live Well’ garden which will feature a specialist potato growing display and a demonstration of Irish potato cuisine coordinated by Bord Bia. 

Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia said: "This event is a wonderful showcase for what Ireland has to offer as a sustainable food island. It will provide an opportunity to demonstrate to an international audience the sustainability credentials of the Irish Food and Horticulture Industry which is underpinned by Origin Green the world’s only national food and drink sustainability programme.

"The potato has long been synonymous with Ireland but, by hosting an event of this calibre, our industry has the opportunity to highlight the depth of knowledge and expertise available here around the production and marketing of potatoes and 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.

"Bord Bia is honoured to have sponsored this important gathering and we look forward to being a part of the four-day event," Ms McCarthy said. 

For more information on the full line-up for the World Potato Congress 2022 visit https: //www. or search World Potato Congress 2022 Ireland on Twitter, Instagram and Face book.

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