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President’s Address

Dear potato professional,

In 1993, the first World Potato Congress took place in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada. This successful event resulted in the idea to establish the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) as an organization to collaborate with local organizing committees to bring potato professionals from all over the world together in areas located in all continents.

The UN International Year of the Potato in 2008 highlighted more than ever that potatoes are the 3rd most important staple food and contribute to assure food security and more welfare in rural areas all over the world. As well, potatoes use less water than rice and less land than cereals to provide the same food value, which make it a sustainable crop.

International collaboration and a dynamic Board of Directors and International Advisory Committee resulted in a more ambitious roadmap for WPC Inc., based on its mission and vision to set up the world’s premier global networking organization for potato professionals, creating opportunities by facilitating communication and information sharing throughout the world potato community.

The World Potato Congress Board of Directors and the International Advisory Committee are composed of volunteers from all over the world and together with our General Manager, Brian Douglas we are continuously sharing ideas and setting-up activities with local potato professionals throughout the value chain.

This is the result of energetic involvement and commitment of my three predecessors, Lloyd Palmer, Allan Parker and David Thompson, together with their team of Board of Directors and International Advisors. The current team and management of the World Potato Congress are excited to continue and further develop this global (net)work.

More than ever, innovations in the potato sector seem to develop at a greater speed. New technologies are becoming available to potato professionals all over the world which increases opportunities for new projects in this sector. But also new partnerships between the scientific, financial, economic world, involving authorities, institutions, providers of equipment, products and services and farmers are creating new opportunities for potato production, trade, processing and marketing all over the world, especially in communities on the road to development.

This is why the role of the Sustaining Partners Initiative is crucial to sustain the World Potato Congress’ operations. Sustaining Partners help to develop and promote the benefits of the potato both locally and globally, not only with financial support, but also because of their contribution to the initiatives of WPC Inc.

The decision of WPC Inc. to move to a biennal Congress to welcome potato professionals, sharing knowledge and ideas, and learning from each other, will allow more potato organizations in all continents to host a world potato congress.

But also new initiatives, such as the WPC Toolbox for developing countries, webinars and collaboration with regional potato events are illustrating the ambition of WPC Inc. to contribute to this global potato network.

In 2021, WPC Inc. launched a proposal to FAO and the UN to proclaim May 30 as the International Potato Day. This is the national potato day of Peru, birthplace of the potato. This initiative would link the potato value chain to its final destination: the consumer.

Together with our Board of Directors and International Advisory committee, I am open to all suggestions that could contribute to our ambitious work.

Wouldn’t it be great to also have your company or organization as a pillar of the bridge to the future global potato development?

Kind regards,

romain-cools-sig

Romain Cools
President and CEO

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