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Pandemic causes french fry demand to collapse in Canada

The downturn in consumption has had an immediate impact on french fry processors in Canada and could alter how many potatoes are seeded in 2020. It’s nearly impossible to say when french fry demand will return to normal because it’s difficult to predict when restaurants will re-open and consumers will have the disposable income to dine out. Potato processors and growers across Canada will have to factor COVID-19 into production contracts for 2020.

CIP researchers designed a smartphone app for potato irrigation monitoring

Recent research by scientists and students from CIP and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Peru, confirmed that images from infrared (a.k.a. thermographic) cameras can be used to detect water stress in potato crops, and thereby guide more efficient water use. A combination of monitoring with infrared images and drip irrigation can allow farmers to reduce the water needed to grow potatoes by at least 1,600 cubic meters per hectare, as much as one half the amount of water used in traditional surface irrigation. CIP scientists recently developed a new, more user-friendly version of TIPCIP for the smartphones.

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The Quikgro initiative: Developing resilient potato varieties suited for East Africa

Scientists of the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, are supporting a research project aimed at delivering food security and health for East Africa. The Quikgro initiative, which aims to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions of the region, is a key component of the project and will hopefully result in economic and social benefits for smallholder farmers. Researchers hope the new varieties will produce tubers that bulk quickly in warmer environments.

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Potatoes USA: 2019 a banner year for potatoes, but in 2020 exports decline with severe losses in foodservice sales

Utilization of U.S. grown potatoes increased by 3.3% in volume in 2019 compared to 2018, an increase of 1,183 million pounds. The full force of the global pandemic and its impact on food sales became very apparent in March, Potatoes USA says. Beginning with the restrictions in China and then elsewhere in Asia, U.S. exports slowed considerably. Domestically, the calls for social distancing and the restrictions on sporting events, entertainment, bars, and restaurants has led to a drastic decline in foodservice sales.

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European fresh potato promotion campaign launched, targeting millenials

Bord Bia, CNIPT, VLAM and Europatat are thrilled to announce that the European campaign “Potatoes, prepare to be surprised – Europe’s favourite since 1536” is now live. The three-year campaign, co-financed by the European Commission under the EU Promotion policy, will run until the end of 2022 and is now live online under the hashtag #potatosurprises. The aim is to encourage the consumption of fresh potatoes among millennials.

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Coronavirus crashes the European processing industry

The situation in mainland Europe closely echoes current trends in the UK. Fresh retail sales have been reported to have increased significantly and potatoes are moving from countries such as France and Germany to help meet demand in eastern Europe. Meanwhile the widespread closure of restaurants and other food service outlets has meant that demand for processed potato products has[Read More…]

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The impact of the ban on CIPC use on potato export: A Dutch perspective

The ban on the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham (CIPC), is causing much controversy in the European potato industry. In an article by Martine van der Wekken of FreshPlaza, the author writes that the discontinuation of the use of CIPC could lead to significant issues, especially for Dutch potato exports to far-away destinations, when these products have to remain in containers for about two weeks or even longer during transit.

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Scotland’s first potato vodka has given Hatton of Ogilvy Farm lots to celebrate

Tended by the Jarron family for four generations, these are exciting times down on the farm – and for Scotland’s first potato vodka. Producing award-winning single estate premium vodka, production is based on a ‘ground to glass’ ideology, to form a small-batch local liquor of international quality. The entire process of creating the vodka, from field to bottle, takes place on the farm.

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A shift in market requirements for the British potato industry

In light of the coronavirus outbreak reaching the UK in January 2020 there has been significant development, ultimately changing the way the potato industry has been functioning. At first, the changes were slow but once the government started enforcing stricter guidelines things quickly changed, says AHDB in the UK in a news report end of the past week. What volumes of potatoes were grown and are available for the required markets? With fresh chip and significant amounts of French fries volumes not required anymore, could we see a shift in the movement of potatoes initially destined for these markets into other sectors?

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With no fries sold, Dutch farmers face billion kilo potato pile

It’s potato planting season, but many Dutch farmers are facing a mountain of a problem, with a million tons of potatoes left over from last season due to the coronavirus outbreak. Restaurants in the Netherlands, many serving popular deep fried “patat”, have been closed since mid-March, with a ban on public gatherings set to last until June 1 at least.. With their closure, the market for potatoes collapsed overnight. The country’s agricultural organization LTO estimates damages from the virus outbreak so far at 6 billion euros.

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‘Tsunami of change in the food industry’: Food goes to waste amid coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus pandemic is leading the food industry and regulators to change policies as they grapple with empty shelves, a glut of fresh produce and milk, and sudden shifts in consumer buying habits. The problem isn’t a shortage of food and commodities. If anything, food waste is becoming a bigger issue as traditionally big, bulk buyers — like college dorms and restaurant chains — suddenly stop receiving deliveries. As a result, millions of gallons of milk are being dumped, and farmers have no alternative but to turn fresh vegetables into mulch, write Adam Behsudi and Ryan McCrimmon in Politico.

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The ‘caviar’ of potatoes: These are the world’s priciest potatoes

How much would you realistically pay for a pound of potatoes? A few dollars? Well, you won’t believe how much these expensive spuds once fetched at auction. These artisanal vegetables are grown in sandy soil fertilized by seaweed on an island off the Atlantic coast of France. They’re so delicate they must be harvested by hand, and they’re only available 10 days a year. These are the Bonnottes de Noirmoutier, and they are one of a kind. Watch a video.

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Organic humble heroes: New Zealand’s Whitfield Organics

Organic farmers are a small but growing sector in New Zealand. Considering consumer trends and the recent law changes, it’s time to “hero” the industry, writes Gemma Carroll, Communications & Engagement Officer at Potatoes New Zealand in a recent article. Not long ago, Gemma headed over to Clive, near Hastings, to meet with Hawkes Bay organic grower Brad Whitfield. Brad is a fourth generation grower who still shares some of the work with his 80 year old dad Dave.

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Potato Weekly: Standstill in Britain’s chipping market; growers trying to make planting decisions

In this week’s Potato Weekly report, issued yesterday by AHDB Potatoes, analyst Adian Wright writes that trade in the chipping market is at almost a complete standstill as most chip shops remain closed across the UK. Meanwhile, another week of good weather nationwide has meant that for many, planting of potatoes has continued at pace, but the uncertainty of how long certain markets may be unavailable is hanging over some growers who are trying to make planting decisions.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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