In a significant move to enhance its global outreach and expertise, the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) has announced the addition of two new International Advisors, Douglas Harley and Derek Roulston, to its esteemed team. This strategic inclusion aims to deepen the organization’s insights into the international potato industry.
“The WPC looks forward to working with Doug and Derek. They bring a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the world of potatoes, particularly in Europe and Africa. As such, they will provide significant contributions to understanding the potato profile within those regions and on a global scale,” says Dr. Peter VanderZaag, president of WPC Inc.
Douglas Harley, known affectionately as Doug, is the Group Managing Director of Alexander Harley Seeds Ltd., a renowned family-owned seed enterprise. Under his leadership, the company’s potato division, Cygnet, has emerged as the UK’s largest potato breeder.
Cygnet’s innovative approach has led to the introduction of successful potato varieties like Kingsman and Elland. The company’s vertically integrated structure allows it to produce over 30,000 tonnes of seed potatoes in Scotland, exporting to more than 40 countries globally.
Doug’s academic background includes an Honours Degree in Agriculture and Crop Science from Aberdeen University. His career has been marked by influential roles in various organizations, including BPTA, BSPB, Euroseeds, and Breeders Trust. His previous tenure with WPC as a Director and Chair of the Awards Committee adds to his rich experience in the field.
Derek Roulston’s journey in the potato industry is rooted in his upbringing in a farming family in Co. Donegal, Ireland. Taking over the family farm in 1990, he later moved to Kenya in 1998 to engage in missionary work focused on rural and community development. It was here that Derek identified the critical need for quality potato seed, leading to the establishment of a significant potato seed project with Kisima Farms in Kenya, now a leading producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Upon returning to Ireland in 2013, Derek delved into studying new potato varieties and disease management methodologies at the Agri-Food & BioScience Institute. He founded Moyle Hill Enterprise (MHE) in 2015, consulting for organizations like the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the International Potato Center (CIP). His work has significantly impacted potato projects across several African countries.
Currently, Derek is the director of the Africa Potato Initiative (API), instrumental in developing the Declaration of Dublin and its implementation in Africa.
The WPC community is enthusiastic about the contributions Doug and Derek will bring as preparations are underway for the 12th World Potato Congress, scheduled for June 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. Their extensive experience and knowledge are expected to provide invaluable insights into the potato industry, furthering the WPC’s mission on a global scale.
Source: World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC)