World POtato Congress
    Potatoes have a massive role to play globally. As well as delicious to eat in all their many forms, they are nutritious and address many of our food security and sustainability challenges, declared Potato Council chairman Allan Stevenson in his opening address at World Potato Congress (Edinburgh, May 27).

    “No other traditional staple foodstuff offers so much in terms of vitamins and nutrients,” he added.

    Reflecting with pride on Great Britain’s achievements he paid tribute to British Agriculture and its world leadership in sustainable production, noting that the potato sector was at the forefront of technology and was an enviable example of better resource use.

    Impression of the World Potato Congress audience

    Referring to the wettest drought in history and challenges on his own farm, he commented that his sector was responding well to a changing climate in spite of the pressure. He congratulated the sector on cutting its water, fertiliser and carbon budgets over the past few years and thanked Government for its continued investment in science and technology for agriculture.

    Inviting over 800 international delegates from 50 countries to see for themselves how the sector was responding to consumers, he said: “There is great diversity in global consumer needs and this is a feature of this Congress. I would encourage you all to visit some of our quality retailers and see what our consumer offering looks like in Britain today as we start our new fresh potato season.”

    Having compared notes with growers’ organisations around the world Mr Stevenson added: “I truly believe the British model delivered through AHDB is unique;the most advanced model for providing funding for gaps in the needs of the agricultural industry. We represent 75 per cent of British agriculture through six sector divisions: cereals, milk, horticulture, red meat, pork and of course potatoes, creating cross sector collaborative opportunities in the fields of R&D and marketing and also important cost savings. Furthermore, we represent both farmers and primary producers as well as the purchasers in the supply chain. This is challenging, but helps to unite farmers with their customers in addressing improved competitiveness and sustainability.”

    Offering his guests the opportunity to discuss the now formerly humble, but now proud, vegetable he declared World Potato Congress 2012 open for business .

    Allan Stevenson (Photo Credits: Sean Bell)