Exhibitors display potatoes during the China Potato Expo in Yanqing County of Beijing, capital of China, July 28, 2015 (Xinhua)
Research and development was at the top of the agenda at the ninth World Potato Conference in Yanqing, Beijing.

The three-day event, which ends on Thursday, ran alongside the China International Potato Exposition and is the largest global potato conference in terms of scale and content.

"We will take advantage of the conference and constantly support the scientific research and industry development of potatoes, and improve research and development in that area in Yanqing," Lin Keqing, vice mayor of Beijing, said.

The conference saw the establishment of the China branch of the International Potato Center, China's first international agricultural research institution. Since 1978, China, the largest potato production and consumption country in the world, has cooperated with the IPC to reduce poverty and drive rural growth.

In other developments, Yanqing county plans to deepen its cooperation with the city of Zhangjiakou by jointly establishing a high-tech scientific park for potato research.

A total of more than 3,000 experts from the world of academia, industry and governments from 37 countries attended the conference.

"China's potato yield has increased from approximately 12 tons per hectare 40 years ago to 16 tons per hectare now, and the planting area has grown from 2 million hectares to over 5 million hectares during the same period," Barbara Wells, director of International Potato Center, said.

"I believe that with Chinese people's dream for a better life, a cleaner environment, more nutritious food and better health, the market demand for potatoes and sweet potatoes will continue to grow at a rapid pace," Wells added.