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Wilson’s Country hosts World Potato Congress delegation

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Professor Amanda Gevins from Wisconsin; Josephine O'Keeffe, World Potato Council; Humphrey Mburu, Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture; and Angus Wilson, CEO, Wilson's Country.

Professor Amanda Gevins from Wisconsin; Josephine O'Keeffe, World Potato Council; Humphrey Mburu, Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture; and Angus Wilson, CEO, Wilson's Country.

Professor Amanda Gevins from Wisconsin; Josephine O'Keeffe, World Potato Council; Humphrey Mburu, Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture; and Angus Wilson, CEO, Wilson's Country.

Ireland’s hosting of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) culminated with 30 delegates from countries around the world visiting Wilson’s Country in Co Armagh.

The event provided guests with an opportunity to observe, at first hand, how Ireland’s largest potato packing and processing operation is managed.

“The visit provided us with a tremendous networking opportunity,” said Angus Wilson, CEO and chairman, Wilson's Country. “This is the first time that Ireland has hosted a WPC.

“The global reach of potatoes continues to expand. New technologies are fast impacting on the sector. Wilsons’s Country wants to be at the very heart of these developments.

“The opportunity of meeting and interacting with so many people with real influence across so many aspects of potato breeding, production and processing was one that we could not turn down.

“In turn, I hope the visit to Co Armagh provided the delegates with a learning opportunity, which they can avail of in their own right for the future.”

Wilson established his potato operation on the family dairy farm at Richhill back in 1986.

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“At that time, it was very much a case of developing an additional income stream for the farm,” he said. “But, from the very outset, the driving priority for the business was that of providing consumers with high quality local potatoes.”

Thirty-six years later, these priorities remain the same. However, the business now employs 130 people, between full and part time, and processes 850 tonnes of potatoes per week.

Wilson’s Country currently supplies a selection of the largest supermarket groups throughout the UK and Ireland. It is currently investing £1m per annum in new technologies across its processing and storage systems.

“New product development is a key focus for the business,” said Wilson. “In addition, the company’s management works closely with our growers to ensure that they have access to the latest agronomic advice they need in order to maximise crop yield and quality in the most sustainable manner.

“It’s now recognised that potatoes can help take many emerging countries around the world out of hunger. I particularly welcome the declaration agreed unanimously at the end of the congress, calling on the United Nations to commit to an annual World Potato Day.

“The potato is a uniquely valuable source of nutrition for people of all ages. And I feel it would be wholly appropriate for the United Nations to officially recognise this fundamental fact at this time.”


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