On 10 June the European potato community virtually gathered for the Europatat Congress 2021. Under the slogan “Stay connected – new strategies for the potato sector”, the annual event organised by Europatat, which was this year open to all the potato supply chain, focused on the possibilities and challenges that digitalisation can offer to all-size companies in the sector.
Opening a two-hour digital event, Gilles Fontaine, President of Europatat, emphasised that: “This year's virtual edition demonstrates our sector’s resilience to unexpected changes and the importance of keeping connected despite the new COVID-19 reality. Nowadays more and more companies from farm to fork are switching to digital, including those in the potato sector. Our annual event is thus an excellent opportunity to explore together how to make the most of digitalisation in the potato sector”.
The President’s opening of the Congress was followed by the keynote speech of the Digital Expert Ömer Atiker, who gave an energising and inspiring presentation on the potential for business transformation via digitalisation. “There is probably nothing so non-digital as the potato” he first stated. However, the digital transformation can add value to the humble tuber: “From growing to harvest to logistics and sales: The potato can become quite digital – and worth a lot more!”, he
The second session consisted in a panel debate organised on how digitalisation is reshaping the potato sector. The debate was organised in four rounds and involved three speakers from different parts of the potato supply chain:
Anthony Atlas, Head of Product and Growth of ClimateAi, a California based ag-tech company enabling agri-businesses to make weather and climate-smart decisions 1 day – 40 years out;
Lilian Escalon, Director HZPC Europe, a 300m€ business unit of the Dutch potato breeder HZPC;
Felipe Medina, Technical Secretary General of ASEDAS, the Spanish food retailers and wholesalers association which is a member of Eurocommerce, the European Association of retailers and wholesalers.
The speaker line up also included Liam Glennon, Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee of the World Potato Congress (WPC) 2022 in Dublin, who gave an overview of the programme and activities planned for this unique potato event that will take place in Dublin (Ireland) from 30 May to 2 June 2022.
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