The World Potato Congress recently appointed Dr. Peter VanderZaag to its board. VanderZaag, a member of Alliston Christian Reformed Church, will track and report potato-related issues throughout East Asia and China as well advise the congress on programs and initiatives.
The World Potato Congress is a volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of the global growth and development of the potato industry. The congress organizes an international potato congress every third year. Since 1993 it has organized conferences in Canada; the United Kingdom; South Africa; The Netherlands; Kunming, China; the U.S.; Scotland; and most recently in Yanqing, China.
VanderZaag is known worldwide as a potato expert. His international development interests date back to 1972, when he did two years of volunteer service with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (now World Renew) in Bangladesh. He earned degrees in agriculture and tropical agronomy and worked in Peru, the Philippines, and several African countries before opening an International Agricultural Research Centre in China in 1985.
In the early 1990s, VanderZaag and his family returned to the potato farm in Alliston, Ont., where they farm more than 1,000 acres of potatoes as well as providing expertise internationally.
“I have spent over 43 years helping farmers in the developing world with improved potato farming,” VanderZaag said. “I have been so blessed to help fulfill Jesus’ commission to help those who are hungry and experience injustice. As a director of the WPC I see my role to help build more bridges between my contacts in western countries and those who have needs in the developing world.”