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Europatat Congress 2024 unites industry leaders to shape the future of potato trade

On 23 and 24 May the European potato community gathered for the Europatat Congress 2024 in Brussels, Belgium. With more than 100 participants from more than 15 different European and non-European countries, this year’s edition dedicated one day to internal meetings for Europatat members and another day to a public conference entitled “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition”.

On the eve of the European elections, the Europatat Congress offered participants the possibility to discuss with other colleagues and European legislators how the potato trade should transition to the new decade.

On Thursday 23 May, Europatat members reviewed the different activities of the association during the meetings of its five Commissions (consumption potatoes, seed potatoes, sustainability, technical and regulatory issues, and RUCIP).

Credit Bernal Revert/BR&U

External speakers including European Commission’s representatives presented the latest updates on key topics such as plant health and food safety, corporate sustainable reporting, packaging or market situation and trends among many other topics.

The intense first day of meetings was followed by the traditional Europatat Gala Dinner at the exclusive location of the La Maison du Cygne in the Grand Place.

On Friday 24 May, the Europatat Congress’ public conference was preceded by the annual meeting of the association’s General Assembly. Europatat members approved the association’s accounts and the main priorities for 2024 and 2025 based on the current Strategy 2022-2025. Whilst key topics such as trade, plant health and food safety remain at the core of Europatat’s priorities for the year to come, other dossiers such as sustainability reporting and measurement, nutrition or potato-related research are also gaining more and more importance in Europatat’s work.

Kicking-off the public session, researchers from the EU-funded project titled Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT) presented the main project results that have been achieved after four years of intensive work. For more details, read this article.

Later on, Tigran Richter, President of Europatat, officially opened the Europatat conference by announcing the name of the new Vice-President of the association, Vlastimil Rasocha (read more here). Afterwards, Rik Vera, business philosopher and writer, gave a keynote speech on how to stay relevant for people and society tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. According to him, agri-food business should implement the 5Cs (critical thinking, collaboration, compassion, creativity and curiosity) and embrace new tools such as Artificial Intelligence to “surf the waves of change”.

After Rik’s inspiring presentation, Sergio Calvo Fernández, Chief information Officer at Patatas Meléndez, gave a presentation on the new plant that the Spanish packer has built in Medina del Campo, Valladolid, which uses the latest technology available in the sector (automation, artificial vision, big data, etc) to market more than 180.000 tons of fresh potatoes per year.

Source: Europatat. Read the full report and view more pictures here
Related: Pictures from the Gala Dinner and Public session of the Congress are accessible here.
Cover image: Credit Bernal Revert/BR&U

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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