World Potato Congress Webinar: Fostering Potato Partnerships for Food Security

Peter VanderZaag, President and CEO of WPC.

Peter VanderZaag, President and CEO of World Potato Congress (WPC).

November 26, 2023
World Potato Congress Inc. is pleased to present the Webinar: "Declaration of Dublin and the World Potato Congress, Fostering Potato Partnerships for Food Security" presented by President Peter VanderZaag and André Devaux, November 28, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (USA/Canada)

Presentation Outline

The World Potato Congress was launched in 1993 in Prince Edward Island in Canada and since then it has organized 11 congresses all over the world, gathering nearly 10,000 potato professionals. The last Congress was organized in Ireland in 2022 when "The Declaration of Dublin" was presented.

Feeding an expanded population nutritiously and sustainably requires substantial improvements to the global food system. One that provides livelihoods for farmers and nutritious products to consumers while minimizing an environmental footprint.

The potato is part of the solution to global challenges because of its resilience and contribution to food security and nutrition which plays a two-part role in the family farming economy as a cash crop and providing food.

Potatoes are now the world’s third most important food crop in terms of human consumption, after wheat and rice. It is currently grown on approximately 20 million hectares of farmland globally, and potato production worldwide accounts for 376 million tonnes.

Global statistics indicate that potato production is shifting in developing countries, especially with a strong increase in production and harvested areas mainly in Asia (ASA) and to a lesser degree in Africa (AFR) (especially in East Africa) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

In many Asian, African and South American countries, the full expression of the potato crop’s yielding capacity has not yet been achieved and is usually much lower than the attainable yield. Much improvement is still needed.

Innovations based on potato science can be a significant vehicle for targeting the poor and hungry. The 'power' of potato-based food systems to feed people is the rationale of the Declaration of Dublin which is an important component of the WPC strategy.

It should contribute to strengthening WPC’s key role to foster relationships between private and public potato partners promoting interaction, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.

As part of the preparation of the Declaration of Dublin, the Irish government funded 40 partial scholarships to facilitate the participation of delegates to the Congress from Asia, Africa and South America involved in potato innovation and development activities addressing food security challenges.

Some scholarship recipients became partners supporting the D of D, see some stories on the WPC website under "Around the Globe" (Around the Globe – World Potato Congress). A brief presentation of some of these stories on the improvement of potato production for food security and income from Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, and Yemen.

This webinar will also include Peter VanderZaag’s involvement in China since 2011 on poverty alleviation through potatoes, and partnerships being encouraged by institutions, and local governments to help remote mountainous potato-growing areas.

Webinar Presenters

Peter VanderZaag is a Canadian farm boy who spent many years working to help farmers in Africa and Asia starting in Bangladesh in 1973. After obtaining his Ph.D., Peter joined the International Potato Center (CIP) in 1979 and led work in Central Africa, based in Rwanda and later as the CIP Regional Director for SE Asia based in the Philippines.

In 1986, Peter initiated the CIP work in China and closely cooperated with scientists and farmers in subtropical SW China as a Visiting Professor at Yunnan Normal University and the Joint Academy of Potato Science until 2020.

He focused on introducing improved CIP germplasm and high-quality seed potato production. For his work in China, Peter received the "National Friendship Award" in 2014, the highest honour given to a foreigner. Peter also served as a member and as chair of the CIP Board of Trustees.

Peter has served the World Potato Congress since 2013 initially as an International Advisor and then as a Director. Peter played a key supportive role in developing the programs for the past 3 congresses in China, Peru, and Ireland.

Peter, is also a private potato breeder. He, along with his daughter Ruth and son-in-law Nick own and operate Sunrise Potato, a large potato farming operation in Canada.
Andre Devaux, New WPC Director.

Andre Devaux, New WPC Director.

André Devaux is an agronomist with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He has more than 35 years of experience in research for development with the International Potato Center (CIP) and with other organizations such as the FAO and the Swiss Agency for Development (SDC).

He has extensive applied research experience in potato production systems, value chain development approaches, food security, innovation systems and public-private partnerships. He has collaborated with national and international multidisciplinary teams in Latin America (Andes), East Africa (Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, and Uganda) and Asia (Pakistan).

He worked in the Andes, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, from 1990 until 2019, developing innovative approaches for food and nutrition security taking advantage of native potato biodiversity.

In 2012, he assumed the position of director of CIP’s Regional Program for Latin America, coordinating CIP’s activities in the Andes and promoting institutional alliances and capacity building in Central America and the Caribbean.

He was nominated Scientist Emeritus at the International Potato Center (CIP) in 2019 and is now based in Belgium where he remains active as an independent consultant and Member of the World Potato Congress’ Board of Directors.