The release of the end-March stocks estimate did enable the UK domestic market to encapsulate the partial impact that the coronavirus is having on the potato industry. However, it does not allow us to paint the whole picture as we finish this marketing year and head into next season. Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, wrote the following report that we gladly re-publish here.
Author: Lukie Pieterse
Dear PNT readers, find below a selection of potato related quotes we picked from news items published on Potato News Today the past couple of weeks. We believe these to be worth taking note of, and remembering…
Ag World Support Systems Founder and Chairman Warren Henninger has died. Henninger was a longtime resident of Moses Lake, WA, He died from an accident while doing what he loved, working in his yard. Ag World Support Systems was founded by Warren Henninger in 1997 after spending 21 years with a potato processing company according to the Ag World website.
The Canadian way: Generous Alberta potato farmer donated seed potatoes to communities in the far North
A tow truck carrying 25 tonnes of potatoes (about 50,000 pounds) rolled into Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) Thursday afternoon. The spuds are a donation from Sunny Crest Farms in Lacombe, Alberta, who offered to give their farm’s surplus to b e planted by gardeners in the N.W.T, Jackie Milne, the president of the Northern Farm Training Institute, asked the Alberta Potato Gtowers Association for a donation. She picked potatoes to focus on because she said they are the ultimate “survival food.
In early May, women from the village of Maradisi, in southeast Georgia in the Caucasus, gained wide renown. Naira Paksadze’s story went viral on social networks and in the media. Together with other active women, Naira hoed her neighbour’s potato field in order to save the family’s potato harvest. At the time, every member of the family was being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, while weeds were growing wild throughout their potato field – their only source of income.
In a news release issued by Potatoes New Brunswick, the association says delays rolling out a COVID-19-related support program for Canadian agriculture may spell doom for potato farmers. While the government delays, millions of pounds of potatoes are sitting in storage and starting to rot, Potatoes New Brunswick says in its release. Early last month, the government announced a $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program intended to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.
In an exclusive interview with Dan Orehov, Edtor of Potato Business, Secretary General of Belgapom, Romain Cools, talked about the current situation of potato consumption and trade in Belgium, on the background of the pandemic. Orehov and Cools also discussed the future of the Belgian potato, from farm to fork and the impact that foodservice industry closure has had so far on the overall potato business.
Union delegates are demanding immediate action from the federal government to protect regional jobs from the threat of cheap imports. Alex Ford reports for The Courier. Rallying at the Ballarat McCain processing plant on Friday morning with workers, McCain representatives, and federal Ballarat MP Catherine King, AMWU state secretary Tony Mavromatis said federal authorities needed to take the issue seriously before the market was flooded with European products.
It is of course already well known that blight is a constant threat and significant cost to potato growers. To offset blight, British potato growers should put plans in place as early as possible with their Basis agronomist to ensure a proactive approach is taken to prevent the disease, according to a report published by the Newsroom at Farming Life. In order to achieve putting less pressure on fungicides it is important that good Integrated Pest Management principles are applied for blight control. The most important thing when spraying to prevent blight is to start your programme early.
According to a report by Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, the month of May has been relatively static across the industry in general. The initial lockdown caused a divergence in demand between the retail and food service sector. Speight writes in his report: “We have since seen their respective demand stabilise momentarily and we are at a juxtaposition that relies on further uplifting of lockdown restrictions for demand to increase.”Throughout May we had increased reports of chip shops reopening. Outlets that featured on take out apps, mostly in built up urban areas have reported to have a successful customer base.
The IFA reports that the market situation remains largely unchanged in Ireland. Early liftings continue this week in the country, with drought conditions hindering yields in many areas. Irrigation is a key concern for all growers at present. Drought is a key concern across Europe. The drought in the Netherlands is seen as worse than that of 1976
Jordan Okumura of AndNowUKnow reports that “the awesome potato has been a hotter category than usual as of late, with demand spiking through the spring months. As we get our foothold in June, the potato market is finding some stability for Eagle Eye Produce, though the consumer’s passion for the produce item is staying strong.”
Brad Carlson of Capital Press reports that a spore-sampling network designed to detect airborne diseases before they impact southern Idaho crops has been enhanced this year, its third in operation. Faster detection and reporting, and the ability to find more types of disease that could threaten potatoes and other crops, are among the benefits.
With the Farmers to Families Food Box Program underway across the country, companies are busy packing and sending fresh produce to food banks. Chris Koger of The Packer provides a round-up of recent COVID-19-related news. As far as potatoes are concerned, Koger writes that Potatoes USA is connecting with industry members through a new video series, Keeping It Current, to explain what the organization has been doing during the pandemic.
One country that has routinely been in the news for their impressive handling of the outbreak is South Korea. In Canada, the closure of the hospitality sector in light of the coronavirus caused a significant threat to potato growers. The potato growers in the USA too have faced significant challenges with accessing markets and oversupply. This issue of excess potatoes is impacting supply chains across Europe too. Belgium is famous the world over for its fries and UNESCO list them as a Cultural Treasure. Given the closure of restaurants, including the ubiquitous fish n’ chip shops of most high streets, potato growers across the UK are struggling to sell their crop.
Potato yields from the early Jersey Royal crop are down 40% as drought grips the Chanel Islands in bone dry conditions not seen since the drought of 1976. A very wet February was followed by virtually no rain through March and April, and the season on Jersey is running three or four weeks behind the normal lifting schedule.
The human face of a tragic time: She was a 102-year-old potato farmer born during the Spanish flu pandemic. She was killed by COVID-19
Frances Jordan Banks, a 102-year-old World War II Army nurse who served in India and spent many years on an Aroostook County potato farm, lived a life that was book-ended by pandemics. The Cape Elizabeth native was born during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, and died a few days ago of COVID-19. Banks was a nurse, but her family also knew her as a teacher “of all things” and relied on her guidance and wisdom. .
Food waste plagues both farmers and consumers. Americans throw out much of what we buy at the grocery store—roughly 133 billion pounds of food each year, or $161 billion worth, according to the USDA. On this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies by the Genetic Literacy Project, Jamie Bacher, molecular biologist and co-founder of biotech startup Boost Biomes, joins GLP editor Cameron English to discuss his company’s novel approach to battling pests and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Potato System reports that DLG RUS postponed the International Potato Field Day “Potato Days Russia-2020”, which was to be held from July 30 to July 31 in New Kaplino in the Bryansk Region. Thus, “Potato Days Russia” is now scheduled to take place on 29-30 July 2021 in the ‘potato capital’ of Russia – the Bryansk region.
Signs are showing that frozen fry demand is improving quicker than the industry had anticipated, according to a May 27 report by North American Potato Market News. Restaurant chain sales in the U.S. improved five consecutive weeks from early April to mid-May, although were still down 21%, year-over-year in the week ending May 17.
Consumers have been urged to seek out British potatoes on supermarket shelves to help East Anglia’s growers shift the huge surplus generated by the loss of lockdown demand from chip shops and restaurants. The coronavirus pandemic left thousands of tonnes of potatoes stranded in stores as the food service sector closed down. Some have been redirected to retailers, others have been sold directly from farm shops and delivery schemes, or sold off as animal feed.
Potato production in Tenerife will significantly decrease this year due to a wind storm that hit the island in late February, which wiped out a good part of the extra-early potato crop. And then there was also damage done by the Guatemalan moth plague that has been affecting Tenerife farmers for more than 20 years.
Wisconsin spuds had a shaky start to the COVID-19 pandemic, but high consumer demand has put potatoes in a good spot, says the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “The retail demand increased tremendously with the advent of COVID,” Executive Director Tamas Houlihan said. “Grocery store sales were through the roof, people were stocking up, and they weren’t buying the usual 5 and 10 pound bags. They were buying as much as they could.”
Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon