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Celebrating the Spud: United Nations declares International Day of Potato

In a landmark decision, the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution to celebrate the International Day of the Potato on May 30th annually, according to a press release issued by the World Potato Congress Inc.

This decision, championed by the World Potato Congress Inc. and the Government of Peru, marks a significant recognition of the potato’s role in global food security, nutrition, and sustainable agricultural practices.

A Journey to Recognition

The road to this global celebration began in earnest at the 11th World Potato Congress in Dublin, Ireland, in June 2022, where Peru first presented the proposal. With diligent coordination and advocacy by WPC Director André Devaux, Romain Cools (former WPC President), and various governmental bodies, the initiative gained momentum.

In a press release the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Government of Peru states, “The potato plays a fundamental role for global food security and nutrition, as well as for income generation, and the need for small-scale farmers and value chain actors to have sustainable practices to ensure environmental protection and social equity.

Their efforts emphasized the potato’s vital contributions to food security and its significance for small-scale farmers and value chain actors.

The Potato’s Global Impact

The potato, a staple food for billions and a cornerstone of many cultures, plays a critical role in addressing food insecurity and poverty. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed this new observance, recognizing the potato’s nutritional, economic, environmental, and cultural value.

“This International Day will shed light on the significant value of the potato – nutritional, economic, environmental and cultural.  It will also highlight the contribution of the potato to global food security, poverty reduction and the livelihoods of millions, while emphasizing the key role of Indigenous Peoples knowledge and practices,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol.

The Day “will allow us to draw attention to the importance of this ancestral crop in sustaining efforts to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty; as well as to encourage agricultural development, food security, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functions,” Víctor García Toma, Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations told the General Assembly.

See excerpts from the official release by the FAO on this page.

An Annual Celebration and a Call for Sustainable Practices

The inaugural International Day of the Potato will be held on May 30, 2024, and will serve as an annual reminder of the need for sustainable practices to ensure environmental protection and social equity.

It builds upon the International Year of Potato observed in 2008, reiterating the significance of this crop in contemporary global challenges.

A Step Towards Future Congresses

This announcement comes as the World Potato Congress Inc. gears up for its next event in Adelaide, Australia, in June 2024. The Congress, a gathering of potato enthusiasts, experts, and industry leaders, will further explore the themes of sustainability and innovation in potato cultivation and usage.

For those interested in becoming a part of this global potato community, the World Potato Congress Inc. invites individuals and organizations to join their Sustaining Partner program. More information can be found on their website or by contacting them directly.

The designation of the International Day of the Potato by the United Nations is more than a celebration; it’s a recognition of the humble spud’s mighty role in our global ecosystem. As the world prepares to mark this day, it’s a reminder of the interconnectedness of food, culture, and sustainability, and the need for concerted efforts to address global challenges.

Source: World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC Inc)
Ellen Kouwenberg, General Manager, WPC Inc.
Cover image: Credit Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Peru

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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