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Kenya will not host Potato Congress 2026

Nairobi, July 1, 2024. Nairobi will not host   the 2026 World Potato Congress, as earlier announced dumping the celebrations that marked the expectation. 

Wachira Kaguongo, the National Potato Council of Kenya  (NPCK)  Chief Executive officer announced from Adlaide, Australia, “ We were supposed to pick the mantle but I regret to inform the larger fraternity of friends of potato, due to some hiccups in signing the agreement between Kenya and the World Potato Congress (WPC), the opportunity to host the event was moved from Kenya to Poland.

Mr Kaguongo said all was not lost despite the setback, “ We could be the hosts in 2030’’.

Had the plans succeeded this would have marked the first time the congress is   held in sub-Saharan Africa.  It has sparked enthusiasm among potato stakeholders, seen as a significant milestone for Kenya’s agricultural sector, highlighting the country’s growing influence in the potato industry.

The World Potato Congress is widely recognized as the leading event in the potato industry, providing a platform for knowledge exchange, innovation, and idea sharing that drives the global potato sector forward.

Nairobi was excited for the now shelved selection as the host city, as it represented a major achievement for Africa’s potato industry and would have positioned Kenya as a premier destination for agricultural conferences and events. The congress would have e attracted  approximately 1000 attendees from around the world with  a positive impact on the  country’s tourism economy.

The WPC  2024 took place in Australia, June 23-26,  where Kenya was represented by NPCK, seed multiplier Freshcrop, Sereni Fries, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, ICIPE, and the Nairobi-based International Potato Centre (CIP). 

Nairobi’s  bid to host the congress was spearheaded by the National Potato Council of Kenya and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, with support from various public and private sector partners such as the International Potato Centre, SSA (CIP), Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization, KenInvest, Pest Control Product Board, Kevian Kenya Ltd, Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET), Bayer East Africa, and Syngeta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.

Peter VanderZaag, President of the World Potato Congress, looked forward to Kenya hostin the congress and said, “I am delighted that Kenya will host the 13th World Potato Congress in 2026. Kenya is centrally located and a leader in potato research and development in East Africa. I am confident that this congress will raise the profile and capacity of the potato value chain in this region, and provide an opportunity for networking, investment, and trade relations across the potato sector.”

The proposed theme for the World Potato Congress 2026 is “Developing Global Potato Partnerships for Improved Food Systems, Food Security, and International Trade.”

This event will have dprovide a unique platform for Kenya and the African continent to showcase their advancements in potato research, farming techniques, and innovation. The congress brings together farmers, researchers, policymakers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders, fostering collaborations and facilitating the exchange of best practices and cutting-edge technologies.

Potatoes hold a vital position in Kenya, being the second most important food crop after maize. They play a crucial role in ensuring food security, reducing poverty and promoting economic development in the country.

Kenya is determined to make its mark on the global potato industry by pushing to host the WPC 2030.

Catherine Riungu/ Catherine@hortinews.co.ke

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