IFA President Joe Healy has called on consumers and retailers to support National Potato Day (Friday 7 October). Mr Healy commented that the Irish potato industry is an important indigenous industry worth €75 million at farm gate, with 500 growers plant over 9,000 hectares annually.
National Potato Day forms part of a €1 million, three-year promotion campaign by Bord Bia designed to address the fall in fresh potato consumption over the last 12 years and signal the health benefits of the potato.
Marking National Potato Day, Joe Healy urged retailers to recognise the massive investments potato growers have made in machinery and cold storage to ensure a continuous twelve-month supply of Irish product.
IFA Potato Chairman Eddie Doyle said that the potatoes are healthy, versatile and easy to prepare: “The potato is an important domestic crop, synonymous with Irish agriculture, and has very important health benefits."
"There is more Vitamin C in a potato than there is in an orange, more fibre than an apple, and more potassium than in a banana. The potato also has over 60 phytochemicals that can help you fight illness and is also gluten free.”
Events will run around the country on National Potato Day to demonstrate the taste and versatility of potatoes, including an open farm day on Eddie Doyle’s farm in Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny.
Seven national schools from the local area and Waterford City will visit the farm during the open day to learn about the life of a potato, including a live demonstration of potato harvesting. The children will get a chance to see potatoes being peeled and prepared for chipping and to participate in an on-site cookery demonstration by Dooley’s Hotel chef Mark Murphy using recipes from the official website. The O’Donnell family from Seskin Farm, Co Tipperary, producers of O’Donnells Hand Cooked Crisps, will also be on hand to talk about their experience of diversifying in potato production.
Andrew Doyle, Minister of State for Horticulture; Aoife Hearne, Dietitian and EU Potato Promotion Ambassador and a number of potato producers will also be in attendance.
National Potato Day is a joint initiative of Bord Bia, IFA, and the Irish Potato Federation.