July 9, 2024

Shaping the Future at Potatoes SA Congress 2024: “2050 is Now”

The Potatoes SA Congress and Seed Potato Growers’ Forum, themed “2050 is Now,” is poised to return on the 16-17 July 2024 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. This year’s event takes a robust stride towards real-time innovations and strategic foresight in the potato industry.

Innovative Discussions and Industry Leadership

The two-day forum offers a comprehensive agenda that caters to various stakeholders across the potato value chain. The event commences with a welcome speech by Gert Bester, Chairperson of Potatoes SA, followed by an insightful session on the economic value of innovation presented by Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes SA. The first day is packed with discussions on industry insights, certification processes, and the pivotal roles of the National Seed Potato Committee and the Potato Certification Service. Delegates can also look forward to an intensive panel discussion on innovation, facilitated by Dirk Uys, Manager of Research & Innovation at Potatoes SA.

Industry Insights: Setting the Scene, Sponsored by Inteligro

The session “Industry Matters, Setting the Scene,” facilitated by Janet Lawless of InteliGro, promises an engaging start to the forum. Sponsored by Inteligro, this segment offers a platform for in-depth discussions on pivotal industry forecasts and the rationale behind some of the world’s most controversial predictions. Pieter Geldenhuys, Director at the Institute for Technology Strategy and Innovation, will delve into these predictions, shedding light on their origins and implications.

The discussion will also explore the future of logistics with insights from William Sears, Chief Commercial Officer at DP World SA, and examine advancements in crop protection, led by Chris Pienaar from Bayer. Dr. Hennie Groenewald, CEO of Biosafety Africa, will address the future of breeding, and the session will conclude with George Barnard, a prominent figure in the potato industry, offering his reactions to these future forecasts. This session sets the stage for a congress deeply invested in innovation and forward-thinking within the agricultural sector.

A highlight of the forum is the networking opportunities it provides, starting with an evening gathering on the first day.  This setting offers an ideal environment for professionals to forge and renew connections within the industry.

Escalating Dialogue and Celebrating Achievements

Day two of the forum escalates the dialogue with sessions focused on efficiency in production, logistics, and customer engagement. These discussions are led by experts such as Prof Martin Steyn from the University of Pretoria, and feature panels including prominent figures like Gareth Haarhoff from PepsiCo SA. The proceedings will wrap up with the Industry Matters session titled “2050 is Now!”, which promises to translate futuristic visions into present-day actions.

The grand finale is the Prestige Gala Awards Ceremony on the evening of the 17th, where the Potato Farmer of the Year and Seed Grower of the Year for 2024 will be announced. Hosted by Anlie Hattingh, this gala not only celebrates the achievements within the industry but also reinforces the community’s commitment to a sustainable and innovative future.

By aligning with the proactive theme “2050 is Now,” the Potatoes SA Congress and Seed Potato Growers’ Forum not only addresses current industry challenges, but also sets a progressive agenda for the future of potato farming in South Africa.