Leith Forrest

Leith Forrest is the number 1 rating night time announcer at FIVEaa radio in Adelaide. He was worked alongside Chris McDermott and the Little Heroes Foundation for 20 years, hosting a number of their events each year. Very proudly from the South East - Millicent - Leith has been a “meat and potatoes” kid his entire life. He’s certainly played his part in this thriving industry. 


Ryan Barrett

Ryan Barrett is the Research & Agronomy Specialist with the Prince Edward Island Potato Board in Canada.  In this role, he coordinates local and national research projects with diverse partners as well as conducting on-farm research trials with PEI potato growers.   Ryan graduated with a B.Sc. (Agr) from the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture in Nova Scotia and an M.Sc. from the University of Guelph in Ontario.  He has worked with the PEI Potato Board since 2012 after previously working in the purebred dairy cattle industry.  As well, he continues to be involved in his family’s dairy farm, breeding registered Milking Shorthorns. Ryan is Professional Agrologist and serves as the President of the PEI Institute of Agrologists.  He is also a Certified Crop Advisor for the Atlantic Provinces and serves on the Board of Directors for the Potato Association of America and as Chair of the Canadian Potato Council's Research Working Group.

Adrian Cunnington

Adrian has worked in potato storage since the mid-1980s.
He joined the team at the UK’s specialist potato storage research centre at Sutton Bridge when it was run back then by the Potato Marketing Board as a junior technician. He became Head of Site in the 1990s and remained in post under the British Potato Council, and subsequently the AHDB, until it was closed following the collapse of the UK’s potato levy system in 2021.
Over those three decades Sutton Bridge was at the forefront of research and knowledge transfer to the UK industry and also developed a strong reputation carrying out dedicated contract research for private clients from around the world. Adrian spent much of his time in recent years developing programmes for best practice development for growers and store managers. He co-authored the first Potato Store Managers’ Guide back in 2001 and wrote the most recent, third edition for AHDB in 2019.
Adrian was closely involved in the European Association for Potato Research for many years, chairing or co-chairing the Post-Harvest Section from 2006-2014. He first presented at World Potato Congress in 2006 and was part of the organising team for the 2012 Congress in Edinburgh.
After the loss of Sutton Bridge, Adrian established Potato Storage Insight as an all-encompassing consultancy on potato storage. PSI places a lot of focus on training to pass on key skills and continues to advise the British industry, which stores around three million tonnes of potatoes annually, on best practice and storage optimisation.
Adrian was a member of the CIPC Stewardship Group in the UK from 2008-2020, co-ordinating the managed retention of the sprout suppressant chemical until its withdrawal in 2020. He now works closely with many of the new products which have been adopted in its place.

Dr. Dave Douches

David S. Douches, with over 40 years of experience in potato breeding, genetics and biotechnology, has an active potato breeding program directed toward the development of improved cultivars in Michigan for 35 years. The focus of the program is to develop new cultivars for Michigan’s potato industry by integrating genetic engineering/ gene editing with conventional breeding efforts.  Key traits targeted for improvement Colorado potato beetle resistance, disease resistance to scab, late blight, PVY, blackspot bruising and chip processing from long-term storage.  He is also director of the USAID-funded Global Biotech Potato Project for Africa and South East Asia.

Sponsored by:   

Agus Gomez Kayser

Agustin Gomez is the Syngenta Product Biology Lead Insect Control based in Spain. He is leading the development of synthetic and biological insecticides in Europe, with specialized focus in horticulture. He has worked across the biology, marketing and portfolio teams with Syngenta since 2008, in multiple locations throughout Europe and the US. Agus is involved in insecticide resistance management discussions in Europe and is a member of the Crop Life International Insecticide Expert group. He is also a coach in Operational Excellence and has a degree in Agricultural Engineering and MSc in Food Quality Management.

Dr. Guy Hareau

Guy Hareau is Principal Scientist at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru. He has experience as farmer and as extension agent prior to beginning his research career at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Uruguay (INIA), where he worked for 17 years. In 2008, he joined CIP as impact assessment scientist, holding various responsibilities to provide evidence of the organization’s contribution to reduce poverty and hunger around the world under. Between 2016 and 2023, he was the Leader of the Social and Nutritional Sciences Division at CIP.  He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech, USA.

Dr. Paul Horne

Dr Paul Horne is an entomologist and since 1996 has been owner and director of IPM Technologies Pty Ltd, based in Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia.He has worked on IPM in potato crops throughout Australia for over 30 years and also on IPM in potato crops in New Zealand and Yemen.  A strong focus has been the implementation and adoption of IPM strategies. Paul has written several books on insects and IPM (the two most important co-authored with Jessica Page) and two guidebooks to insects in potato crops in Australia as well as contributing chapters to two recent international potato publications.

Prof. David Hughes

David is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London. He's lived & worked in 4 continents. Now based in UK, in history he was co-owner of a branded fresh produce business in Florida, USA. He talks around the globe about food industry trends.

Wachira Kaguongo

Mr. Wachira Kaguongo is an agricultural economist, working with National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) as chief executive officer.  NPCK is a Public-Private Partnership Organization, with the goal of transforming potato subsector into a robust, competitive and self-regulating industry. Previously,  Mr. Wachira worked with International Potato Centre (6 yrs), International Livestock Research Institute (3 yrs) and International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (6 yrs). He is an International Advisor for World Potato Congress Inc., the Deputy National Chairman of the Kenya National Farmer’s Federation and a member of the board of Agricultural Food Authority in Kenya.

Steven Lapidge

Steven is the creator and CEO of End Food Waste Australia, which incorporates the End Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre. The organisation is the lead agency in Australia’s fight to halve food waste by 2030 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Target 12.3. His career has focused on industry-based science and commercialisation across the wildlife, agri-food and sustainability fields. Steven's qualifications include a PhD and an MBA. He is a Champions 12.3 member, Fulbright Professional Business/Industry Fellow, Governors Leadership Foundation Fellow, and an Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate.

Prof Jin Liping

Prof Jin Liping has been working on potato genetics, breeding and virus-free seed potato multiplication technology since 1987. She was the first chief scientist of the Potato Breeding and Cultivation Innovation Team of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Innovation Project and has succeeded in development more than 30 new potato varieties, which are now widely cultivated in China. For a long time, Prof Liping has organized national potato research, and contributed to poverty alleviation through technology in China. Since 2008, she has served as the Chief Scientist of China Agriculture Research System-Potato under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. She also serves as the Chairperson of the Potato Committee of the Crop Science Society of China, the Chairperson of the Root and tuber Crops Committee of the China Rural Special Technology Association.Prof Liping is a recipient of the 2nd Class Prize of State Scientific and Technological Progress Award of China, the National Poverty Alleviation Innovation Award of China, and the National Innovation Excellence Medal of China.

Charles Miller

With a focus on revenue generation and strategic alliance building, my expertise in the seed industry drives me to address the global challenge of food security. Through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, I strive to shape a sustainable and well-nourished future for communities worldwide.  Before joining Solynta, Charles worked for Chromatin Inc. where he led the company's international business development and sales as Vice President. Prior to working with Chromatin, he was a principal at the sorghum company MMR Genetics/Richardson Seeds. After its acquisition by NuFarm, he became the Global Development Manager for the sorghum business. Prior to that, Charles worked for Mars, Inc. for many years where he gained deep experience in trading, logistics, and treasuries.  Currently, Miller is serving on the Board of Directors of the African Seed Trade Association, is vice Chair of the plant breeding and innovation committee and serves on the American Seed Trade Association’s international executive committee.

Anika Molesworth

Dr Anika Molesworth is a farmer, scientist and storyteller. She is widely recognised for her work in agriculture and food systems and generating climate change awareness. Anika is the author of Our Sunburnt Country, which won the Royal Societies of Australia and New Zealand Writer’s Award for Outstanding Writing on Social Change. Other awards include Young Farmer of the Year (2015), Young Australian of the Year, New South Wales Finalist (2017), and Young Conservationist of the Year (2022). Anika is passionate about ensuring the best possible future for the planet, people and the food on our plates.

Jemma O'Hanlon

As an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, consultant and presenter, Jemma’s mission is to inspire health and happiness through food. Jemma’s career spans almost two decades across the food production, foodservice, food manufacturing and public health sectors, and as a trusted voice of authority, Jemma is often called upon by the media for her opinion on topical nutrition matters. An experienced director and former Vice President of Dietitians Australia, Jemma is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. When she’s not in the kitchen you’ll find her hiking out in nature or taking her energetic kelpie for a run.

Dr. Monica Parker

Monica L. Parker PhD is passionate about delivering science to realise the impacts potato can have from individual households to national level economies. She has supported potato sector development through partnerships with governments, and public and private, community and farmer institutions in more than 10 countries throughout Africa and the Middle East. She is particularly passionate about the ‘left behind’ countries, the likes of Eritrea, Niger, Sudan, Yemen plus many more high potential areas.As a Senior Scientist with the International Potato Center (CIP), Monica was based out of Kenya for 10 years, and resumed remote work in Canada last year. Her career spans greater than 15 years in agriculture and food systems development in Africa, primarily horticulture and more than 10 years in the potato sector. Bringing a multi-disciplinary approach, her work encompasses technical and project leadership, strengthening partnerships, and program growth. Originating from Canada, she completed her MSc (1999) from Simon Fraser University and PhD (2012) from the University of Guelph, both in Plant Pathology. Monica and CIP are very excited for a partnership under the Declaration of Dublin contributing to institutional capacity development at all levels of the potato sector.

Cedric Porter

Cedric Porter is the Editor of World Potato Markets, an essential weekly briefing for potato professionals. He is Vice Chair of charity Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF), a director of a UK potato farm, a correspondent for Farmers Guardian magazine and a member of the UK's Trade & Agriculture Commission.

Blair Richardson

Blair Richardson has fulfilled the responsibilities as CEO and President of Potatoes USA since 2013. On behalf of Potatoes USA and the potato industry, Blair sits on several produce and potato industry boards, including the Alliance for Potato Research and Education, the Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation, the Alliance for Food and Farming, and others. Mr. Richardson actively engages in issues of importance to the potato industry and is passionate about the need to proactively protect and defend the reputation of the potato. He is a strong proponent of aggressive advocacy and marketing tactics. Prior to this, Blair served in similar positions with other private and industry organizations in California and has been an active farmer of both almonds and cherries while he was CEO/Partner of a large grower/packer/sales company specializing in fresh stone fruit, grapes, and citrus. Mr. Richardson sold his last farm in California in 2021, which capped 32 years of working and/or farming in the state that began in 1989 with a ten-year career in the California cotton industry.

Florence Rossillion

Florence Rossillion has been involved in the potato sector for 10 years. She has spent a large part of her career in relation to agricultural sector and food industry, mainly in interprofessional associations. As Director General of the Interprofessional Committee for Fresh Potatoes in France, she manages relations between producers, traders, packers and retailers to establish action agreements in terms of agronomic research, economic studies, quality assessment potatoes, development of consumption and communication. She is also involved in lobbying for the potato sector in France and Europe. Florence Rossillion has a master degree in international political relations and management.

Derek Roulston

Derek Roulston is a farmer from Ireland. He grew up on his farm in Co Donegal a traditional potato seed growing area in the North West coast of Ireland. His love and admiration of the potato crop are deep rooted and early childhood memories included harvesting and grading potatoes. After attending agricultural college in 1983 – 84 Derek returned to farm with his father which grew seed potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbage, leaks and kept beef cattle and sheep. In 1997 Derek and his family felt a call of God to serve as missionaries in Kenya in the role of outreach through agricultural and community development. Farmers in Kenya struggled in obtaining quality potato seed and as a result yields where incredibly low. A number of appointments and opportunities just fell into place at the right time and in Gods appointed time Derek was introduced to CIP in Nairobi and Kisima Farm in Meru. In 2010 collectively they developed one of the first private certified seed potato farms in Kenya. With certified seed and training on good husbandry local farmers yields increased from 3 tons per acer to over 12 tons. This demonstrated how partnerships between the private sector and a research institutes such as CIP can benefit and uplift small scale farmers. Derek is now director of the Africa Potato Initiative which seeks to promote and forge partnerships such as this throughout Africa. Derek is privileged to be an international advisor for the WPC and is a strong advocate for the Declaration of Dublin.    

Sponsored by:   

Albert Schirring

Albert Schirring, born on the 14th March 1960 at Emmen (Netherlands), studied agronomy at the Agricultural High School in Groningen from 1977-1981. He finished the Wageningen University in 1989 and graduated on Plant Pathology majoring on fungicide resistance management and control strategies for soil born pathogens.Schirring started his professional career in the crop protection industry in 1987 at Schering Aagrunol B.V. in the Netherlands heading the development department for horticultural and vegetable crops. In 1992 he moved into a marketing position for vegetable and horticultural crops in the AgrEvo organization.From 1996-2000 he worked as crop manager for vegetable and horticultural crops in the region North-West Europe representing the United Kingdom, Benelux, Germany and the Nordics. After the formation of Aventis in 1999, he moved to Global Marketing department in Lyon to assume a position as global product manager for potato and vegetable fungicides. At the end of 2002 after the formation of Bayer Crop Science he assumed the position of team lead in fungicides for Potato & Vegetables. Since than he held different positions related in that field including strategic business management of vegetables and potatoes.

Mario Tenuta

Mario Tenuta (B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.), P.Ag., is the Natural Science and Engineering Council/Western Grains Research Foundation/Fertilizer Canada Senior Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship and Professor of Applied Soil Ecology at the University of Manitoba. His training includes a B.Sc. in Botany and Physical Geography (Toronto), an M.Sc. in Soil Fertility (Guelph), a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (Western), and Post-Doctoral research in Plant Nematology (UC Davis). The 4R Industrial Research Chair Program is advancing research in nitrogen fertilizer management practices to give farmers and the agricultural industry solutions to achieving nitrous oxide (N2O) emission reductions and improved soil health and crop productivity. A key feature of the Chair program is conducting farm-based research with particular attention to the outreach of findings to farmers, industry and policy-makers to achieve national target reductions in emissions of N2O and position towards a path of net-zero food production.

Peter VanderZaag (PhD) 

Peter VanderZaag (PhD) is President of the World Potato Congress Inc. He first served as an International Advisor to the WPC, starting in 2014, elected to the Board of Directors in 2018 and then President in January 2023. Peter was an integral part of developing the programs for the last 3 congresses held in China, Peru and Ireland.  Peter is a potato scientist who has worked for the International Potato Centre in several African countries and in later years, in SE Asia and China.  Following this,  he  served on the Board of Trustees of CIP from 2007-2014 including 4 years as chair. He also served as adjunct professor at several universities in Asia and has guided over 30 graduate students towards their advance degrees. Peter and his family established a large potato farm which focuses on sustainable farming practices. In 2014 he initiated the Sunrise Potato Systems Institute to assist remote mountain potato farmers in Asia.Peter is passionate about addressing global food security through potato production and research.

Chunzhi Zhang

Chunzhi Zhang, Principal Investigator, Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (AGIS, CAAS). She is a potato geneticist and breeder, specialized in hybrid potato breeding. In 2014, she obtained her PhD degree from CAAS. From 2014 to 2019, she did a postdoc in AGIS, working on self-incompatibility and inbreeding depression in diploid potato. Since 2019, she worked in AGIS as a PI. Her group is dedicated to reinvent potato from a tuber-propagated tetraploid crop into an inbred line-based diploid crop propagated by seeds. To achieve this goal, they overcame self-incompatibility in diploid potato by genome editing (Nat Plants, 2018) or using of the Sli gene (Nat Commun, 2021), and deciphered the genetic basis of inbreeding depression (Nat Genet, 2019). Based on these, they developed the first generation of pure inbred lines and F1 hybrids (Cell, 2021), and analyzed the multi-omics bases of potato hybrids (JIPB, 2022). At present, her group focus on studying the genetics of desirable agronomic traits and development of new breeding tools to accelerate the improvement of potato.

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