TRADE AND MARKET I NG Ambitious lobby full of ‘Potatobility’ rolled out for the Dutch edition of WPC 2021 It is almost 25 years ago now that the potato organisations and the national governments from all over the world sat down together to organise the first World Potato Congress in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island (Canada). The idea and purpose were, and still are, to exchange knowledge and experience in regard to the potato chain in all parts of the world. And with a very broad base, so from practical cultivation experience, trading and marketing right up to scientific research. Following a successful start, after the second edition it was decided to make WPC a triennual event, each time in a different country. In 2018, it will be held in the Peruvian capital of Cusco. Seventeen years ago, WPC was held in the Netherlands for the first time, in Amsterdam. ‘We now have the idea of holding the event in the Netherlands again for a second time, in 2021. It should be no problem to hold WPC for a second time in the same potato country because both Great Britain and China have already hosted the event twice’, explained Potato World editor Jaap Delleman as initiator and co-architect on behalf of the Dutch Potato Organisation (NAO). Emmeloord has it all ‘The reason why we’d like to have the event in the Netherlands again is a legitimate one, Delleman continues enthusiastically. ‘I’ll explain who “we” are in that last sentence. In the nearly 25 years that the WPC now has existed, our country has become the number 1 in the world for the export of seed potatoes, thanks to our 60 percent market share. We also have a top position in the export of processed potato products. All this has led to a lot of commercial activity in the past fifteen years. A major part of the entrepreneurial activity in the domains of potato trade and export – for example the suppliers for cultivation and technique – is concentrated around the town of Emmeloord. And for good reason, because Emmeloord is situated in an important cultivation area for seed and consumption potatoes. So it’s logical that the relevant potato events are held here regularly. Examples are the annual International Potato Varieties Days organised by the Dutch seed potato trading companies and breeding stations, PotatoEurope, the leading four-country event, that’s held in Emmeloord every four years, and the annual regional Potato Festival. As the potato plays such an important role in this town, for some years now, it’s been calling itself ‘World Potato City’, or WPC for short. Bearing in mind all these arguments plus the fact that in 2021, PotatoEurope will again be held in Emmeloord, at the end of last year, a plan emerged to hold the 2021 Word Potato Congress here as well.’ The enthusiastic response from the industry sector and government authorities During the Potato Varieties Days, Delleman started to lobby for his idea with the support of the NAO. The Mayor of Emmeloord, Aucke van der Werff, very quickly responded and embraced the plan with great enthusiasm. Van der Werff immediately got in touch with Cor van Veldhuijsen, the director of AgroFoodCluster, a company established in Emmeloord. AgroFoodCluster is a collaborative project of agricultural businesses, which was started in the central region of the Netherlands. ‘The purpose of the project was to take the agricultural sector continuously to a higher level. In order to realise this professionally, we work closely together with major research and educational institutes in this country. The potato plays an important role in this process’, Van Veldhuijsen explains. ‘Our AgroFoodCluster includes around thirty major companies that are active in the potato sector around the world such as Agrico, HZPC, Aviko, Den Hartigh, Tolsma-Grisnich and the well-known agricultural cooperative Rabobank. An excellent basis for the 2021 WPC’, according to the director. Inspiring Bid Book Offering yourself for a world event such as WPC does not happen automatically. To start with, the organisations expect you to submit a professional Bid Book, Van Veldhuijsen explains. ‘Most people know the Bid Book phenomenon from the world of sports. For an event such as the Olympic Games, a country first needs to present extensive arguments as to why and how it wants to organise the games. This usually starts with compiling a Bid Book. As the idea for organising the 2021 WPC arose in November of last year, and the organisation wanted to have a motivation already in January, there wasn’t much time to compile a written one. So we invited Michel de Bruin of Eunite Participaties, who’s an expert in this area, to handle the entire process.’ Normally, six hundred to eight hundred partners in the sector take part in the WPC. The 2021 WPC project team is thinking of double that number as PotatoEurope already attracts over 15,000 visitors. A broad support base needed ‘From the more practical point of view, you need to perceive the entire process to arrive at a Bid Book as a tender, a wellknown notion in the potato sector. The thing is that you’re not the only one in this contest, other countries can also pursue candidacy’, De Bruin starts his explanation. ‘An organisation like the WPC also imposes requirements. For example, one of these requirements is whether a country can effectively manage such an event. To start with, you need a broad support base from the sector, which is what we worked on first. The 26 Potato World 2017 • number 3 Pagina 29

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