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L-R: Romain Cools, president, World Potato Congress; Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; and Michael Hoey, president of the Irish Potato Federation. (Photo: Fennell Photography)

Ireland to Host WPC 2021

No other European nation has a more special relationship with the potato than Ireland. So, it is only fitting that the 11th World Potato Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland, May 24-27, 2021.

The congress will be hosted by the Irish Potato Federation, with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Bord Bia (Irish Food Board), Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board) and Teagasc. It will truly be an all-Ireland event because although the congress proper will be located in the historic venue of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) in Ballsbridge, a suburb of Dublin, Northern Ireland will also be involved in the congress.

“With a long tradition of involvement in agriculture dating back to the 18th century, the RDS will be a fitting venue for the WPC in 2021,” says Romain Cools, president and CEO of World Potato Congress Inc.

The RDS was established in 1731 and is one of world’s oldest philanthropic organizations. “The RDS is dedicated to seeing Ireland thrive both culturally and economically, and works to see this happen through science, the arts, agriculture, enterprise and equestrianism.”

Liam Glennon is the head of the organizing committee that has already started the preparations of the next congress, which will focus on “the changing world of the potato.” The committee will take into consideration the increased attention of issues such as climate change, sustainable production, food security and making use of modern technology.

“This congress will focus on the innovative trends influencing the potato value chain,” says Cools. “It will be the global premier network event for the potato professionals, including farmers, traders, processors, suppliers of machinery, equipment and services, scientists, food service and retailers, and professional media.

“And for a lot of potato professionals from the U.S. and Canada who are of Irish descent, this event will also offer a unique opportunity to add a visit to the land of their ancestors to their program.”

The Irish Potato Federation has also secured the simultaneous hosting of the Europatat Congress – the annual congress of the European association of the potato trade. Both events will become a week-long focus on the potato, the third most important food crop in terms of global consumption.

Andrew Doyle T.D., Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine stated: “I want my Department and Bord Bia to continue to work with the Irish Potato Federation to make this event a great success for the Irish food industry.”

The Irish potato sector has always been innovative and wants to illustrate this to the global potato professionals. Michael Hoey, president of the Irish Potato Federation, adds this congress will shine a spotlight on the importance of the potato in Ireland and across the globe, and become a centrepiece of world-class marketing excellence.

Winning the World Potato Congress for Ireland is “the culmination of a lot of hard and creative work by a very dedicated committee,” says Hoey. “I know that the 2021 congress will shine a spotlight on the importance of the potato in Ireland, and across the globe, and become a centrepiece of world-class marketing excellence.”

During WPC 2018 in Cusco, taking place May 27-31, an Irish delegation will be presented the WPC flag by the Peruvian hosts of this year’s event. From that moment on, the campaign to set up the program and communicate about the event at the most important potato events will start. The website wpc2021.com has already been launched, and people can already subscribe to a newsletter updating them on the event and the program.

WPC 2021 in Ireland aims to gather 1,000 delegates and their partners, and has worked out a number of network events in some of the most interesting locations in Dublin. All hotels will be within walking distance of the congress venue, which will also enable (informal) meetings and gatherings during the congress. A new offer to companies will be the possibility to have business contracts signed on the WPC.

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