Global News

Potatoes NZ: ‘Cheap European frozen potato products are being dumped on New Zealand market’

Potatoes NZ says in a press release issued today that it has submitted an application to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) for anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products originating in Belgium and the Netherlands. The application is based on the real threat of material injury to the New Zealand potato industry. The threat is said to be a result of huge surplus inventories of frozen potato products and processing potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands, the organization says. “This situation has arisen through the impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic causing supply chain disruption in hospitality industries worldwide,” PNZ says in the press release.

Namibia to spend millions on potato imports in effort to address food crisis

To make up for the monthly potato production shortfall, drought stricken Namibia will have to spend around N$160,2 million on potato imports for the next five months – N$13 million a month. This was revealed by the Namibia Agronomic Board. The country’s production forecast for the next five months revealed that local farmers will only produce 8 121 tonnes of potatoes, while the country needs 19 144 tonnes. Potatoes are the most consumed fresh produce product in the country, with an average demand of 3 800 tonnes every month.

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Poor potato harvest hits McCain UK’s profits

Profits more than halved at frozen foods specialist McCain UK last year as “one of the worst potato harvests in 40 years” hit its bottom line. Newly filed accounts for the year to 30 June 2019 show McCain’s operating profits fell 63% to £21.3m from £57.6m a year earlier. It said it maintained a value share of 54% and a volume share of 42% of the UK frozen potato category, according to IRI data for the 12 weeks to 20 June 2020.

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Latest PlanetPotato podcast: Off to Idaho, and learning why a potato makes an ideal block printer

World Potato Markets travels to Idaho and tries its hand at potato printing in the latest episode of its PlanetPotato podcast. Presenters Anna Lambert and Cedric Porter discuss why Idaho established as the US’s largest potato state with Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission. Printer Molly Mahon describes why a potato makes an ideal block printer for making patterned paper and fabric.

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Aldi and Puffin Produce launch new potato line

Puffin Produce has announced a partnership with Aldi to stock its exclusive range of local Pembrokeshire Early potatoes in stores across Wales. The Haverfordwest business worked with Aldi to roll out a new line of the potato variety as part of the supermarket’s award-winning Specially Selected range from June. Puffin Produce expects to supply around 200,000 packs of the new range to Aldi’s Welsh stores over the next two months.

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Outstanding women of the Wisconsin potato industry

These ladies are among an impressive group of women that continues to further potato and vegetable production in the state of Wisconsin, writes Joe Kertzman, Managing Editor of the Badger Common’Tater, in an article published by Wisconsin State Farmer. Joe is writing about Lynn Leahy and Heidi Alsum-Randall. As head research agronomist at Heartland Farms, Inc., Lynn Leahy attributes success in her career to hard work, grit and commitment to life goals… Heidi Alsum-Randall is the first female president of the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board (WPIB), She is chief operating officer of Alsum Farms & Produce in Friesland, Wisconsin.

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NPC welcomes revised USDA coronavirus aid payment rates, presses for additional increase

The National Potato Council released a statement Thursday, July 9, after an announcement by USDA that it is issuing revised payment rates for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which previously prevented potato growers from receiving equitable access to relief funds. “The potato industry appreciates the rapid work of USDA in considering these changes and making potatoes eligible for all three categories of payments. We believe the economic justification submitted by the industry strongly supports the meaningful inclusion of potatoes in this relief program, given the devastation faced by the industry due to the government-mandated food service shutdown,” said Britt Raybould, NPC President.

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Wyma management growth shows confidence in future

Wyma Solutions announced today the appointment of Danny Burns as Global After Sales Manager. This appointment follows several years of sustained growth and further recognition by Wyma of the ever-growing importance of maintaining strong after sales and operational relationships with customers. The appointment of a dedicated After Sales Manager position is a strong indication of Wyma’s confidence in the current market as well as their continued focus on delivering excellent customer care and ongoing support.

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French Federation of Seed Potato Growers confirms efficient seed certification, despite COVID-19 and high incidence of aphids

In a press release issued by the French Federation of Seed Potato Growers (FN3PT), the organization says that the normal measures are in place to ensure efficient and high quality potato seed certification activities, despite the current COVID-19 situation, as well as an unusual incidence of of virus-transmitting aphids this season. FN3PT says field inspectors are fully mobilized to carry out the inspection work in accordance with the agreement between FN3PT and GNIS/SOC, the official authority for certification and phytosanitary matters for seed potatoes in France.

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IFA: Retail trade good in Ireland, improved growing conditions in Europe

According to information published in the Irish Farmers Association’s weekly potato report, there were mixed reviews on trade in the food-sector service over the weekend as pubs and restaurants began to re-open. Retail demand remains buoyant with colder weather than expected for July so far. In Europe improved growing conditions are reported over the last week, particularly in Eastern Europe. Market disruption remains in place, with fears of a ‘second-wave’ in some countries.

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Tasmania still TPP free thanks to strong biosecurity system

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, says the Tasmanian Liberal Government has made biosecurity a priority to protect the state’s reputation as a premium producer of agricultural and seafood products. Working closely with industry and the community, Biosecurity Tasmania has recently completed the first year of a three-year volunteer plant pest surveillance program called the ‘TPP Adopt-a-Trap-Survey’. Strict biosecurity regulations are in place to reduce the risk of entry of this pest to Tasmania.

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Innovative Farmers: Establishing potato cyst nematode trap crops

Innovative Farmers, a not for profit membership network for farmers and growers in the UK, reports on a ‘field lab’ that explores the practice of establishing trap crops to control potato cyst nematode (PCN) – the UK’s primary potato pest. Currently, the main control option is to use nematicides hazardous to operators and the environment, which only prevent one season’s crop yield and do not prevent PCN increase. Innovative Farmers says an alternative cultural control method is the use of trap crops, which limit nematode multiplication and reduce existing soil PCN populations.

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US potato industry experts see mixed foreign trade outlook, increase of french fry imports from the EU

International trade experts within the potato industry are encouraged by a new trade agreement with China but have concerns about a rise in frozen fry imports from Europe. Matt Lantz, vice president for global access at Bryant Christie, summarized international trends and trade issues. The export market for U.S. potatoes continues to grow, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a reduction of exports, there’s still promising news in the international markets for U.S. potato growers, he said. “There has been a major surge of fries from the EU, and I say the term ‘surge’ very deliberately,” Lantz said.

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Potato psyllid monitoring program in Idaho kicks off

The University of Idaho and its crop consultant collaborators across the state are continuing the monitoring program for potato psyllids, zebra chip disease (ZC) and liberibacter (Lso), the bacterium associated with ZC. The monitoring program covers commercial potato fields throughout southern Idaho and is funded in part by the Idaho Potato Commission and generous in-kind contributions by collaborators.

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British potato enthusiast sows seeds for more heritage varieties

A potato enthusiast from Hampshire in the UK has produced six more heritage varieties. Among those being produced by Alan Wilson, who lives in Fleet, Hampshire, is a potato called Fortyfold, thought to be the oldest variety grown in Britain, having been introduced in 1836. Mr Wilson said: “I am delighted that I will be able to offer more choice from these outstanding varieties. This will be another step in my long-held ambition to put more rare potatoes on plates.”

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Videos show best practices to minimize tuber bruising

The University of Idaho and the Idaho Potato Commission have produced a series of short videos in which growers will find hints and tips on how to minimize bruising of potato tubers throughout the production process and when moving potatoes into marketing channels. These videos were recently uploaded by Bill Schaeffer to his YouTube channel.

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NEPG: Slight rise in European potato acreage, uncertain outlook for markets

The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimates that the area for consumption potatoes in North-Western Europe increased with 0,5% compared with last year towards 621.148 ha. Under current market conditions, this is considered as too large an acreage, however, the COVID-19 situation arrived at a time when growers already ordered their seed potatoes and rented potato land, and for many it was too late for an area reduction. According to the NEPG, there are many more questions than answers during the current growing season in most potato producing countries around the world.

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Scotts sends its largest ever Evolution separator order to France

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has supplied its largest-ever order to France. Scotts Precision Manufacturing has sent 12 of its Evolution separators to DOWNS, a French manufacturer of potato handling and storage equipment. According to a press release issued today, the unique machines, which gently separate vegetables from soil and clod and haulms, will be incorporated into DOWNS grading machines which have been ordered by farmers across France, Belgium and Europe.

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AHDB webinar: Putting research into practice

Listen during this upcoming AHDB Potatoes webinar tomorrow (9 July) to what potato growers are planning across the AHDB strategic farm network. Through the week folks will have learnt about markets, research and commercial innovation – this session will discuss how this is being applied in the field and what growers can do to progress. Eric Anderson will offer an agronomist’s perspective on how we can build better strategies towards PCN management and the latest views on alternative approaches to virus control.

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Canadian potato growers and scouts can now download scouting resources

Growers and scouts in Canada can now download three scouting resources that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada hosted a webinar series with Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.

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Fairfields Farm launches new season baby potatoes, activates online buying option

The warmer weather can mean only one thing, the chance to enjoy the tastiest early British new potatoes directly from Fairfields Farm, the company says in a press release issued today. Full of flavours and delicious for the summer months, Fairfields Farm says it is now offering its freshly-harvested baby potatoes online and giving customers 10% off everything throughout July – with free delivery nationwide in Britain straight from the farm to customers’ doors.

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Virus that combats potato diseases named after Cork in Ireland

A new group of helpful viruses which tackle the diseases which blight potato crops have been named Cork, the second largest city in Ireland. Colin Buttimer, the 31 year-old researcher who discovered ‘Corkvirinae’, said he is delighted to name the new viruses after where they were found. But more importantly, he said they have the potential for controlling potato late blight. The name Corkvirinae has now been ratified by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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