European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski will address the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC), which is being held in Ireland for the first time at the end of this month.

International delegates from 60 countries will be in the RDS in Dublin from 30 May until 2 June for potato industry insights and knowledge sharing at the event.

The Commissioner will deliver a presentation on Europe’s Green Deal, the Irish Potato Federation has announced.

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 will include Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy, Professor Damien McLoughlin from UCD, Irish special envoy for food systems Dr Tom Arnold, Dan Milbourne of Teagasc, Ross Keogh of Keogh’s Farm and nutritionist Orla Walsh, among others.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will officially open the congress.

He said: “Seeing leaders in the global potato sector come to Ireland is a testimony to the industry we have here.

“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.”

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-19, Minister McConalogue said.

Alongside the host of Irish experts, international speakers will include:

  • Dr QU Dongyu, director general of the food and agriculture organisation of the United Nations, on the potato in a changing world.
  • President of the Polish Potato Federation Tomasz Bienkowski on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the global potato industry.
  • Lauren M Scott, chief strategy officer with the International Fresh Produce Association, on US consumer trends in fresh produce.
  • Prof Paul Struik of Wageningen University, the Netherlands, on the future of potato research and its contribution to food security and sustainability.
  • Canadian motivational Speaker Chris Koch.
  • Farm tours

    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 Irish Potato Federation 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.

    Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said: “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.”

    This, she said, will 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.

    President of the Irish Potato Federation Michael Hoey said: “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.”