Former New Zealand prime minister Jim Bolger, chairman of the United States-based World Agricultural Forum Advisory Group, told the 700 delegates that with the right political approach and backing, potatoes could help feed the billions of people some predict will be starving by 2050.
"The potato only now is being recognized as the truly remarkable source of food that it is and for the very much bigger role it will play in the future," Bolger says.
World potato production has risen 4.5 percent a year over the last 10 years.
He says 2050 is only 41 years away, but the last 41 years the world has not learned how to feed today's population.
He says he is sure the world will be capable of feeding nine billion people, but he questions whether there is the political will to do so.
"There's a serious shortage of political will to make that change," he says. "Despite the green revolution and the advancement of science, we have not met the challenge of feeding the world. Thus far, we have failed."