RE SEARCH World Potato Congress goes to the potato’s region of origin I t 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 the Canadian potato island, Prince Edward Island. 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 to do this on a very broad basis, so from practical cultivation experience, trading and marketing right up to scientific research. Following a successful start, it was decided after the second edition to make WPC a triennial event. From 2021 onward, the Congress will be held every two years, each time in a different potato country. This year, the 10th edition of the event will be held for the first time in South America. In addition to the World Potato Congress, the Peruvian capital of Cusco will also host the Latin American Potato Congress of the Asociación Latinoamericana de la Papa (ALAP). The combination of two congresses, with a different Audience at one location, offers participants in the World Potato Congress the opportunity to meet a large number of South American potato researchers. A glimpse into the future The Andean mountains are the centre of potato biodiversity. Cultivation has been taking place here in small fields for thousands of years, with growers having selected a multitude of varieties to support their livelihood. Even today, this biodiversity still provides an important source of income. Peruvian growers today grow about three thousand varieties, each with their own specific characteristics and resistances, the organisation explains. During the congress, visitors will become acquainted with this primeval form of agriculture and discover that biodiversity not only offers added value in eradicating poverty and hunger, but also contributes to global product development and food-safe production for many large and small businesses. The Congress, which takes place in the historic congress centre in the heart of Cusco, offers participants plenary, thematic parallel sessions, including technical meetings and practical workshops. The speakers, who come from all the world’s major potato areas, will jointly highlight the theme: ‘A glimpse into the future of the potato: Biodiversity, Food Safety and Commercial Enterprise’. Topics covered include: breeding, health and nutrition in conjunction with biodiversity, biotechnology, pests and diseases, seed potato management, climate change, Phytophthora, storage, culinary innovations and value chains for smallholder farmers. In addition to networking, an additional objective of the organisation is to deepen the cooperation between public and private organisations. Combining theory and practice The first day of the Congress begins in the morning with plenary speeches, with David Nowell, a specialist in agriculture from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), kicking off with a lecture on sustainCultivation has been taking place in the Andes in small fields for thousands of years, with growers having selected a multitude of varieties to support their livelihood. ability. Within the FAO, his department promotes themes such as the sustainable intensification of crop production. According to the FAO, this approach calls for the integration and harmonisation of all available crop production legislation and techniques that are aimed at increasing productivity, and to do this in a sustainable manner. The Millennium Development Goals, which aim to reduce world hunger and conserve natural resources and the environment, are the basis for the future. It is therefore no coincidence that the Congress will be held in Cusco ten years after the UN International Potato Year 2008, which, incidentally, took place at the request of the Peruvian authorities and CIP. Next, Barbara Wells, Director of the organising international potato centre (CIP), will explain what her organisation has contributed and achieved in practice and how private-public partnerships can develop in this respect. Máximo Torero, Director of the World Bank, will reflect on the opportunities his organisation offers to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals. The plenary sessions will be concluded by the CIP researchers André Devaux and Miquel Ordinola. The first day will also focus on technical sessions on climate change, trends in current potato consumption and variety development in combination with biotechnology. The second day will start again with plenary sessions where Marco Bindi from the University of Florence and Glenn Bryan from the James Hutton Institute give their visions on the theme. After three technical sessions on pests and diseases, management and storage, and the processing industry, Lieve van Elsen from the Belgian NGO Trias and 42 Potato World 2018 • number 1 Pagina 41

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