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In the News: A weekly overview

Below are a few brief quotes taken from news items published on Potato News Today the past week.

Bahige El-Rayes, Kearney Consulting: “The way a client described it is they’re seeing a tsunami of demand shift from foodservice to food retail. …If you’re a manufacturer today of food, it’s basically how do you adapt? How do you actually take what you sent to restaurants then sell it now to retail?”
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“We hope that people will eat more potatoes, not just fries but all kinds, and reduce the large surplus of potatoes. Also, we hope that people will donate potato-based meals to people working in vital industries [such as hospitals].”
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Throughout the European northwest, calls for a reduction in the 2020 areas multiply. It is exceptional and unprecedented that even the processing industry is calling at this time for these decreases. Some buyers of signed contracts are reportedly opting out with compensation.
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Tom Keogh of Keogh’s, Ireland: “The demand is still there; there just needs to be a complete redistribution. We’re seeing it in our business – there’s a complete redistribution of where people buy their food. The lunchtime trade is gone – now everything is at home so everything is coming through the multiple retailers. All the people involved in online sales are hiring for extra people. There is a big redistribution of services.”
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A series of research papers have shown that when a plant is damaged, it releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that prompt neighboring plants to mount their own chemical defenses against an impending herbivore attack. Researchers are now focused on why the emitting plant puts out this signal, and whether it derives a benefit from telling those around it that it’s being eaten.
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The Sustainable Vegetable Systems Project in New Zealand: The outcomes of this project will be a greater understanding of nitrate and nutrient management and an informed means of measuring environmental impact based on sound scientific data. This will help growers improve their nutrient use efficiency through the adoption of good/or best management practices. 
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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a wildly popular self enhancement book from the late 80’s by Stephen Covey that has sold more than 25 million copies. Digital specialist Shane Thomas took the principles as Covey stated them and talk about it with an agronomic twist and of use for agronomists.
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“BASF are repositioning themselves in the fruit and vegetable sector with this being identified as one out of the four strategic foci for the future. …We have been working hard to develop biological products in this specialty sector. We believe that integration of chemical and biologicals has to be the way forward.”
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Marty Myers, newly elected Chairman of Potatoes USA: ““It’s all about the great people in this industry. …The potato industry truly is unique; it is a young, vibrant and diverse group. …My main goal now is helping the U.S. to fulfill the potato needs of the American people, and helping the potato industry through this difficult time.”
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Thiago Roriz, TNA Solutions: “Although potato chips have traditionally been associated with high amounts of salt and fat, manufacturers have been understandably keen to capitalise on this trend, taking steps to adjust the nutritional profile of their snacks through different technologies and ingredients.”
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Katherine Meacham-Hensold, postdoctoral researcher at Illinois on an international research project that is creating more productive food crops by improving photosynthesis: “Through these studies, our team has taken a technology that was out of reach and made it more available to our research community so that we can unearth traits needed to provide farmers all over the world with higher-yielding crops.”
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Gangwon province in South Korea sold 4,000 tons of potatoes online in two weeks with the help of their governor, who wrote on his Twitter account: “Thank you to everyone who bought the potatoes today. We sold the last 50,000 boxes of potatoes in just 7 minutes 4 seconds. We are thankful to everyone who took part to save the potatoes and the farmers.”
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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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