Uncertainties surrounding the health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have prompted organisers of Potato Europe 2020 to cancel the event to protect the event's visitors and exhibitors.
The next edition of Potato Europe cycle will take place in September 2021 in the Netherlands.
The European exhibition was still due to take place on September 2nd and 3rd at Villers-Saint-Christophe in France, but an announcement was made on Friday that it has now been shelved. Organisers are currently looking at alternative promotions.
"The general level of uncertainty, along with the ongoing health crisis, the measures of physical distancing imposed and the restrictions on international travel that persist, put us in case of emergency and force us to make this difficult decision," the statement announced.
"In the current context of health crisis, strict physical distancing measures are essential for everyone's security, even if their implementation is extremely difficult for an event of this size and nature.
For the event, Potato Europe had been planning demonstrations, technical workshops and conferences. Four hundred exhibitors were preparing to welcome 15,000 visitors, one third of whom were expected to come from abroad.
"Welcoming such a large audience is now made improbable by the limit currently set by the French government at 5,000 people for outdoor events; moreover, international participation is obviously highly compromised due to current and future restrictions concerning international travel," said a spokesperson.
"In making, with regret, this cancellation decision faced with this case of emergency, the organising committee of Potato Europe 2020, which brings together all of the partners in the French potato industry, is also taking into consideration the 400 exhibitors and Arvalis teams. All were strongly involved and invested resources preparing for the event. The organising committee sincerely thanks them. It therefore seemed reasonable to limit the financial risks."
This major event for the image of the French potato industry, in France, in Europe and worldwide will be missed. The statement announced that the organising committee is considering other opportunities "to promote its excellence and its influence".