THE 11th World Potato Congress has today officially begun at the RDS in Dublin, in what is the first time for Ireland to be hosting the event.
The theme of the Congress, 'The Changing World of the Potato', is underpinned by a four-day programme of high-profile speakers and topics covering key issues in the industry today including international trade, sustainability, food security, consumer trends, health and nutrition, innovation and development.
It will feature more than 60 speakers and is set to be attended by over 1,000 delegates from over 60 countries.
Present at the congress is European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski and Dr. QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, who will speak at the Congress.
Officially opening the @wpc2022Ireland in Dublin, Minister @McConalogue has welcomed European Commissioner for Agriculture @jwojc and @FAODG Dr. QU Dongyu, who will speak at the event in @TheRDS.#WPC #WPC2022 #WorldPotatoCongress2022 #WPC2022Ireland
— Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (@agriculture_ie) May 30, 2022
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue opened the congress today, referring to the changing and challenging world of the Irish potato sector.
"Ireland is synonymous with the potato," he said. "It's part of our history, our very identity. No one food or item has left such an indelible mark on the identity of a people than the potato has done in Ireland.
"The potato industry, like many others, has undergone changes over the last number of years but central to the success of our sector has been our commitment to quality and dedication to excellence," he continued.
"Our potato sector is really exciting and pioneering one full of committed farmers whoo are constantly innovating. The sector is one of the most technologically developed in the world with a cohort of professional growers and packers who supply premium local food consumers."
€3 million in funding to support the seed potato sector was also announced last week, in recognition of the challenges faced by the sector.
Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity at Department Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pippa Hackett T.D. said:
"The 11th World Potato Congress provides an opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst global potato professionals. Some of the learnings shred across this week will help contribute to our climate and sustainability goals."