Latest news stories from around the World

Meet Restrain at the World Potato Congress event in Dublin

From May 30 to June 2, Restrain will be exhibiting at the World Potato Congress 2022 (WPC) in Dublin, Ireland. Restrain’s expert team is ready to answer all your questions and show you the solutions that are our contribution to the changing world of the potato. Visit them at stand 57. Restrain is known for their CO2 extractor and their residue-free ethylene anti-sprouting system.

New eBook from TOMRA Food: ‘When Sorters Become Data Generating Machines’

TOMRA Food has published a new eBook to help food processors and packers enhance efficiencies and profitability by using information gathered by sorting machines. The easy-to-read, 21-page booklet, titled ‘When Sorters Become Data Generating Machines’, explains how businesses can “connect to possibilities” with the TOMRA Insight data platform, and the competitive advantages this gives.

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Irish ag minister to seek €3million funding to boost seed potato sector

Irish tillage farmers are expected to get €3million to encourage them to grow potatoes again. Following Brexit, EU plant health rules prevent the importation of certified seed from Britain. Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConologue, is taking this opportunity to kickstart the Irish seed potato industry and will seek approval for €3million in funding from Cabinet on Tuesday.

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Agrico PSA connecting online with tens of thousands of Kenyan potato farmers

Agrico Potato Services Africa (PSA), producer of Kenyan certified seed potatoes, is proud to communicate another impressive milestone reached. The popularity of their Facebook page continue to grow rapidly in popularity, and the company says over 50,000 Kenyan potato farmers are now digitally connecting with Agrico PSA online via their Facebook page.

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‘Nose Knows Scouting’ uses trained dogs to sniff out Potato Virus Y

Good news: the newest ‘high-tech tool’ for diagnosing crop disease is also man’s best friend — a friendly dog. Specifically, it’s a crew of five dogs trained by Andrea Parish of Dayton, Wyoming, owner of “Nose Knows Scouting.” Parish and one of her dogs, Zora, flew into Fargo, North Dakota, so that Zora could sniff her way through the North Dakota State University potato seed development program, looking for Potato Virus Y (PVY).

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What next? Potatoes and other crops “grown” on top of cement floors and basketball courts in China

Several video clips showing many areas across China where potatoes and other crops are “grown” on cement floors or even on basketball courts, have been making the rounds on the Internet lately. It turns out that these are indeed false crops, and artificially constructed fields. Reportedly, some local authorities have recently constructed these false “fields” as a pretense to secure that their local farmland acreage match up to acquired quotes as stipulated by China’s regulations on cultivated farmland.

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HZPC appoints new member to its Supervisory Board

Jean-Pierre Bienfait was appointed as new member of the Supervisory Board of HZPC Holding B.V. during the company’s General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) recently. Jean-Pierre Bienfait is an experienced CEO and supervisory board member who was actively involved with several international companies during his career. HZPC expects Jean-Pierre Bienfait to make an important contribution to HZPC’s vision in the future.

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Virtual training workshop for potato scouts coming up

Dr. Eugenia Banks, potato specialist at the Ontario Potato Board, and Dennis Van Dyk, OMAFRA Vegetable Crop Specialist, will team up to present a free virtual training workshop for potato scouts on May 31st from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time US and Canada). Eugenia will cover diseases, insects and physiological problems. Dennis will do the training on weeds.

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Syngenta Canada to distribute nitrogen-fixing biological

Syngenta Canada Inc. announced it has secured exclusive rights to distribute Azotic Technologies’ nitrogen-fixing biological, Envita, in Canada. Envita is registered for use on a wide range of crops, including but not limited to potatoes, corn, canola, cereals, and soybeans. Envita is a biofertility product featuring a food-grade strain of the bacteria Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus.

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Shameful: Russian invaders destroyed the National Gene Bank of Plants of Ukraine

One of the world’s largest the National Gene Bank of named after V.Ya. Yuriev National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine, located in Kharkiv, was destroyed during the war. The bank kept more than 160 thousand varieties of plant seeds, and hybrids of agricultural crops worldwide, including seeds that no longer exist in Europe and in the world.

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Potato farmers in Cyprus will take action if state does not support them

Following the rise in prices that has been at the centre of disputes and protests all over Cyprus in recent weeks, potato farmers said on Thursday they will also take action if the state does not intervene to support them. “We cannot make ends meet,” the president of the Pancyprian Organisation of Potato Producers Andreas Karios told the Cyprus Mail.

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WUR appoints Richard Harrison as new Managing Director Plant Sciences Group

The Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has appointed Richard Harrison as the Managing Director of the Plant Sciences Group (PSG) as of 1 September 2022. Richard Harrison currently leads NIAB’s research work in arable crops, and NIAB’s contribution to the Crop Science Centre, an alliance between the University of Cambridge and NIAB.

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Ireland: A celebration of the humble Fingal spud at the World Potato Congress

Fingal is famous for its spuds and local producers as well as some of the county’s big food companies will be participating in the 11th World Potato Congress which, for the first time, is being held in Ireland, from May 30 to June 2. Hosting this unique, global event was a major coup for the Irish Potato Federation who competed with several other countries to win a highly competitive bid in 2018.

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EuroBlight reports on results of the 2021 European potato late blight monitoring

EuroBlight, a late blight monitoring network for Europe, is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen. Euroblight has now released a report detailing the results of the 2021 monitoring activities. Approximately 2500 samples from 26 countries were genotyped. According to the report, blight pressure in 2021 was higher than average across many parts of Europe.

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Viewpoint: ‘The reinvention of agriculture’

International economist Steven Cerier writes in this article, published by Genetic Literacy Project, that agriculture must become more productive to feed a growing world population. This can only be accomplished by the further application of science and technology, “and not as some suggest by going backwards in time to a much simpler and idealized form of farming that shuns the use of biotechnology and technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots and microchips…”

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U.S. potato exports show continued signs of recovery

With many countries around the globe relaxing restrictions and showing signs of recovery from the pandemic, demand for U.S. potato exports is strong in many markets. Potatoes USA says in a news release that during the first three quarters of the marketing year (July 2021-March 2022), overall U.S. potato and potato product exports increased from the same period one year earlier.

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HarvestEye to showcase innovative technology tool at World Potato Congress event

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is heading to the World Potato Congress at the end of May, as it continues to showcase on the global agricultural stage the actionable insights it places in the hands of growers. HarvestEye comprises of a patented technology that provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over a whole field that is absent from conventional sampling.

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World Bank: Fertilizer prices expected to remain higher for longer

In the third in a series of 11 blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the April 2022 edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook, John Baffes and Wee Chian write that fertilizer prices have risen nearly 30% since the start of 2022, following last year’s 80% surge. Urea prices are expected to remain at historically high levels for as long as natural gas and coal prices remain elevated.

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Public-private potato breeding partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes

The International Potato Center (CIP), the globally active Dutch seed potato company HZPC, and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) recently announced the launch of a second, five-year phase of their partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes for tropical and subtropical conditions. CIP and HZPC will combine their experience, resources and germplasm to breed and select potato varieties suitable for farmers in tropical and subtropical Asia.

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Canada: Snack maker establishes new state-of-the-art potato chip processing facility in Alberta

Super-Pufft, one of North America’s largest manufacturers and co-packers of salty snacks for retailers and national brands, has established a new state-of-the-art potato chip processing facility in Alberta. The new $50-million facility will support Alberta potato producers and create more than 100 jobs for the Airdrie area. It will use about 78,000 tonnes of Alberta potatoes each year.

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FAO distributes seed potatoes to vulnerable rural families in Ukraine

Working to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable rural families in Ukraine, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has distributed seed potato kits to 17 740 households from across ten of the country’s oblasts so they can plant food in time for the next harvesting season. Some 46 000 people stand to benefit from the campaign.

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AVR’s Ceres 450: The answer to the quest for precision potato planting equipment

The Ceres 450 is AVR’s 4-row trailed potato planter that can be combined with tilling equipment, such as the specially designed AVR GE-Force C ridge cultivator, the basic AVR GE-Force and with other brands. All new Ceres 450 planters can be built optionally with the new ISOBUS link. This allows the planter to communicate with a GPS system via the ISOBUS protocol.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor & Publisher

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