11th World Potato Congress in Dublin, Ireland, Addresses “The Changing World of the Potato”
Richard “Dick” Okray receives World Potato Congress Industry Award for international work in potatoes
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland, in 1589, the “Emerald Isle” has been synonymous with spuds. And though it took nearly four decades for the potato to spread to the rest of Europe, Spanish Conquistadors had discovered the flavors of the potato, in Peru, as early as 1536.
Combined with the deadly Great Famine of 1845-1849, caused by potato blight, Ireland has a long history in potatoes that’s inextricably entwined with the United States, Europe and all the world.
Thus made the setting of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) in Dublin, Ireland, seem more than a fitting venue, but one that was both appropriate and timely, particularly following the last successful event in Cuzco, Peru, in May 2018.
Taking place in the regal setting of the Royal Dublin Society, May 30-June 2, 2022, most of the opening and closing ceremonies, and plenary and business sessions were in a respected research library that remains stocked to this day, floor to ceiling, with old reference books.
According to Liam Glennon, chairperson of the local organizing committee, 900 delegates from 61 countries were in attendance, and for the first time, the WPC and Europatat Potato Congress were held concurrently.
It was a chance for delegates to meet global potato contacts and explore new business opportunities in the fresh, processed and seed potato sectors.
With the theme of “The Changing World of the Potato,” the role of the potato in combatting global hunger and its credentials as a sustainable and nutritious staple were emphasized.