Africa

World Potato Congress Inc confirms commitment to African potato sector at APA Congress in Rwanda

During a presentation at the official opening of the 11th African Potato Congress in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this week, World Potato Congress Inc President Romain Cools announced the ongoing commitment of his organization to be a partner of the African potato sector.

President Cools illustrated this commitment by referring to the active role of African potato specialists in WPC’s global organization: Dr. A. Jooste of South Africa and B. Lemaga of CIP are both members of the WPC International Advisory Committee, while WPC Director, Dr. Peter VanderZaag, is a long term friend and supporter of the African potato sector.

Partnerships for potato projects in Sub Saharan Africa

Romain Cools (right) and attendees at the APA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda

Romain Cools pointed to the new WPC strategic plan which no longer differentiates between developed and emerging economies, but aims to become a premier networking organization for all potato professionals active in the potato sector all over the world.

He expressed the hope that the step towards more public and private partnerships could lead to more successful potato projects in Sub Saharan Africa in future.

Mr Cools further called upon the global potato sector for active support in developing the potato value chains in the Sub Saharan region, knowing that financial investments are indeed available.

“The link between these projects and interested investors is the one we have to realize,” he concluded.

Declaration of Dublin’ envisioned

The next World Potato Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland from 31 May till 4 June in 2021 and Romain Cools assured that WPC Inc and the local Irish organizing committee have commited themselves to developing a program on public/private partnership in Africa and other emerging regions during the next year.

This roadmap has been launched during a successful WPC workshop at the APA conference during the past couple of days. More than 70 participants from all segments of the potato value chain have developed proposals, tools to take away possible constraints and new ideas on the role of public authorities, farmers, research institutes and the private sector to create successful potato value chains.

These proposals will be teased out into an eventual workable roadmap with leadership provided from the Irish NGO VITA, in close collaboration with all interested stakeholders.

During a workshop at the WPC in Ireland in 2021, this document will be finalized into the ‘Declaration of Dublin’, to be presented at the plenary closing ceremony of the 2021 Congress.

Romain Cools can be reached at romain.cools@fvphouse.be for further information. Details about the 2021 Congress in Ireland can be found on http://wpc2021.com. WPC Inc maintains a website at www.potatocongress.org.