What I find most rewarding about travelling is the opportunity to meet new people and learn and broaden my perspective of the potato business. As GM of the PEI Potato Board, I have represented and promoted PEI Potatoes across Canada & the US, Europe, Asia and North Africa.
Whether visiting existing or potential customers, attending conferences, or trade shows I am always looking for opportunities that will benefit our PEI Potato growers, dealers and exporters and opportunities to grow the business and ensure our long-term success. In some instances it might be with existing or new customers while in others it might be new information, expertise or technology that can advance our industry.
Travel provides an opportunity to help our industry identify ways to continually improve. From a sales perspective, travel ensures we are tuned in with the needs of our customers and trends in the market place. From a production perspective, travel provides an opportunity to learn about new production methods, technologies and innovations to improve marketable yields, better meet customer’s needs and lead in environmental stewardship.
I travelled a year or so ago to attend the World Potato Congress in China. Unknown to many people, China has the largest production of potatoes in the world by far. During the Congress, the Chinese government announced the potato as their new staple for food production. The reason; potatoes provide tremendous food value with the least amount of water when compared to other major crops such as rice. I was also amazed at the food products that were made from potatoes, everything from noodles to cookies!
I am always amazed at virtually everywhere I travel when on "potato business", the familiarity with PEI and our famous potatoes. PEI Potatoes has strong brand recognition in the marketplace and are well received around the world. PEI Potato’s strong reputation has been built over many years from marketing quality potatoes that are second to none.
I often meet a new acquaintance that is eager to tell a great story about an experience with our potatoes or with some of our potato producers, dealers or exporters. It IS such a small world - especially in the potato business!