Across Regions, COVID-19 News, News May 2020, Organizations in the News, Pressreleases, Sustainability, Trade/Markets/Prices, Trends

WPC: COVID-19 pandemic halts global trade of rice and cereals, creating a food security challenge

COVID-19 has shaken the whole world, impacting society and the global economy similar to the effect of a world war. Among many economic sectors, the frozen potato products value chain has been confronted with a true drama. The global lock down closing restaurants and halted tourism has all but stopped the consumption of processed frozen potato products, says the President and CEO of World Potato Congress Inc, Romain Cools, in a release issued by the organization earlier today.

Mr Cools says that literally millions of tonnes of potatoes will not be processed this year creating a disastrous financial situation for farmers and processors. Free distribution to food banks, use as animal feed and as a source of green energy will not be sufficient to utilize the mountains of potatoes. The risk of a so called ‘second wave’ of the virus and a possible renewal of the lock down measures will also affect next season’s crop.

The socio-economic problems created by this in Western Europe and parts of North America will be minor compared to the likelihood of food insecurity and famine in many developing countries, Mr Cools says. The major suppliers of the global staples of rice and cereals, China, Vietnam and Russia, have stopped exports. Many poorer parts of the world that depend on imports of rice and cereals, will be confronted with food shortages and rising prices. Increased outbreaks of famine and more people living in extreme poverty is inevitable.

The World Potato Congress Inc (WPC), a global potato network, is leading numerous local potato driven initiatives in poorer regions of the world, where growing conditions and climate permit. These have resulted in a stronger food security and profitable agricultural entrepreneurship.

Along with the International Potato Center, a member of the CGIAR, UN organizations and many NGOs, WPC aggressively supports public/private partnerships, financially supported by external sources, to help local communities create intensive highly productive potato projects.

At the 2018 World Potato Congress in Cusco, Peru, the ‘toolbox’ was launched including a “six step approach”. Excellent results are now reported on such scaled entrepreneurial potato projects in Asia, Africa and South America at

China launched a national “potato as a staple food strategy” in 2015 at the World Potato Congress near Beijing. This was a large national program illustrating how a country has focused on potatoes for food security.

The “tool box” success stories need to be expanded to include many more smallholder farmers and more ambitious larger scaled potato farming and marketing, according to Mr Cools. Furthermore, we need to develop potato projects in long term refugee camps where people would also have a level of food security.

World Potato Congress is preparing its next global congress in Dublin Ireland, a country with an important potato history (from 30 May – 3 June 2021 – At this event, the need for the world to step into potato driven projects to contribute to food security and an economic sustainable future will be highlighted by the ‘Declaration of Dublin’.

“The world can’t wait to develop and support local initiatives where possible, because starting today will help alleviate future food insecurity, Mr Cools says.

Romain COOLS
World Potato Congress inc.

Charlottetown, PEI Canada.
More info: [email protected]

Image: Courtesy

Stockosorb 660 from Eco+

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

[email protected]
[email protected]
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter
Visit Potato News Today on Facebook
Find us on Tumblr
About us

SoilEssentials – TuberZone


Tomra Food



Volm Companies


Receive breaking potato news in your inbox

Folks, you are most welcome to share your email address with us - and follow us - if you want to receive an email as soon as we publish a breaking news item on Potato News Today. Please be assured: We will NOT misuse or share your email address with third parties at all.

Most read stories the past 24 hours

Ireland imported 72,000 tonnes of spuds
Producer organizations in Alberta connect potato growers and cattle ranchers
Chips are down: Asia faces COVID-19 fries shortage
Australian potato farmers outraged as $1billion COVID-19 cash splash is given to European colleagues
Peru cements its position among top 15 potato producers in the world
Eye on Potatoes Podcast: In discussion with Congressman Mike Simpson and NPC CEO Kam Quarles about COVID-19
COVID-19: Major impact on Idaho seed potato grower
India: Potato prices to stay firm due to 'lockdown' bulk buying, low production
Belgapom explains why early potatoes from the Mediterranean are in supermarkets now
Heritage and specialty potato varieties take Ireland by storm

Archive of monthly posts

Loyal readers from around the world – thank you for visiting Potato News Today! Stats below…

  • 605,701