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May 29, 2024

The potato industry on Prince Edward Island (PEI) is excited to celebrate the inaugural International Day of Potato.  In December 2023, the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 30 as the International Day of Potato.  Potatoes are eaten by more than one billion people around the world and are an important food source.  On PEI,  growers are uniquely aware of the importance of potatoes.


The first commercial crop of potatoes was grown in PEI in 1790. Since then, PEI potatoes have served as an economic engine for the province.  PEI potatoes have reached the shores of five of the seven continents, including some 44 countries- or up to 25 per cent of the world!   There are more than 5,000 varieties of potatoes grown worldwide, and more than 75 varieties grown here on PEI. 


PEI’s rich history contributes to a strong brand that all growers can be proud of as Islanders. With everything from songs written about PEI, pop culture references and more, PEI potatoes are a vital part of the island culture. Farms are family-owned, with many growing potatoes for more than four generations.


While growing potatoes has change dramatically over the years, one thing remains the same: care for our land. Improved farming practices and embracing technology have helped to cement the leadership position held as an industry.  Potatoes are a key part of food security around the world, and are now the third most consumed food, globally, after rice and wheat. They allow for more production on less land, are a healthy and nutrition-rich vegetable and are naturally efficient users of water, producing more calories per litre of water than most other staple crops.


There were many worldwide advocates to establish this day, including the World Potato Congress (WPC), headquartered in PEI. The general manager of the PEI Potato Board, Greg Donald, also serves as WPC treasurer.  “We celebrate potatoes every day on PEI, but we are so happy to see International Day of Potato come to fruition and the global support come together to commemorate the most important crop we have,” says Donald.


Potatoes are a staple crop feeding humanity while “contributing to better agricultural production, better nutrition for people and a better environment and life” according to the FAO.  In 2024, the first International Day of Potato focuses on the contribution of the potato to the lives of producers and consumers with the timely theme: Harvesting diversity, feeding hope.


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Source:  PEI Potato Board May 27, 2024 news release


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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 29 May 2024