Across Regions

World Potato Congress webinar: Aeroponics for nuclear seed potato production in the spotlight

The World Potato Congress will present its next webinar on Thursday, February 18, 2021 with Dr. Peter VanderZaag, a potato farmer in Canada and, due to COVID-19, now an “armchair consultant” involved with numerous potato projects in Asia and Africa. Dr. VanderZaag’s presentation will be entitled: “Aeroponics for nuclear seed potato production: history, status, and challenges”. It will primarily focus on the development of the technology in China over the last 14 years. Dr. VanderZaag will share some of the major successes and failures of minituber tuber production with aeroponics.

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The future of crop protection? GM plant grows insect sex pheromones as alternative to crop pesticides

Scientists have discovered how to genetically modify the camelina plant to produce pheromone precursors that can control agricultural insect pests without the use of pesticides. Revolutionary research is being done by ISCA, Inc., a “green” agricultural technology company based in Riverside, Calif., in collaboration with Lund University in Sweden. ISCA says pheromone controls are the future of crop protection.

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PepsiCo doubles down on climate goal and pledges net-zero emissions by 2040

PepsiCo, Inc. today announced plans to more than double its science-based climate goal, targeting a reduction of absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by more than 40% by 2030. In addition, the company has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement. Specifically, PepsiCo plans to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its direct operations by 75% and its indirect value chain by 40% by 2030. This action is expected to result in the equivalent of taking more than five million cars off the road for a full year.

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Climate-smart varieties: Genetic marker for late blight expedites breeding from 10 to 5 years

As the global population approaches 10 billion by 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by 60%. Yet with every 1°C of warming, agricultural productivity is projected to fall by 5%. One model predicts that potato yields could decrease by as much as 32% by 2060, but the development and distribution of climate-smart varieties can ensure that this nutritious and fast-maturing crop continues to play a vital role in food systems in economies worldwide. To accelerate the development of those varieties, scientists have taken advantage of advances in genetic sequencing,

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The Year 2020: ‘I came, I saw, I delivered COVID-19…’

Dear folks, I believe that as much as Caesar’s famous words “I came, I saw, I conquered” will most likely live on for many years and indeed millennia to come, the year 2020 will go down in recorded history as the year when humankind was first inflicted with “The Corona”. And may this be the last time… And may we not be conquered in the end, but overcome… To all you great potato folks: May 2021 turn out to be a great New Year for you and yours!

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Future Farming: You cannot hide from the satellite!

There are many movies where satellites offer scary surveillance capabilities. Of course, it is science fiction, but with the latest commercial satellites some level of space surveillance of crops and fields can be achieved. Besides the Big Brother effect, farmers can also benefit from the satellite imagery with increasing detail that become readily available at increasing cadence, writes Tamme van der Wal, scientist at Wageningen University in this article published by Future Farming.

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CIP Deputy Director warns of the dire consequences of a ‘crop pandemic’, biodiversity loss

As the impacts of climate change intensify — from water scarcity to raging fires and disease outbreaks — the ability to keep pace with demand for food will increasingly rely on crops adapted to new conditions. To achieve this crop breeders will need the full range of tools at their disposal. So says Oscar Ortiz, Deputy Director General for Research and Development at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru. Ortiz warns that biodiversity loss threatens national security.

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‘Fight the blight’: CIP developed an app to help potato farmers in developing countries reduce agrochemical use

Late blight disease remains the biggest threat to potato farming globally, causing USD billions of crop loss each year. In most areas, farmers can only grow potatoes if they regularly apply fungicides, which control the highly destructive pathogen but pose risks to the environment, farmers and their families. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) have developed an easy-to-use decision support tool to help farmers optimize their fungicide use.

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Specialist opinion: ‘Adopting IPM on commercial farms’ – An insight from New Zealand

During the recent CropTec show in the UK – which was hosted and presented as a virtual, online event – Prof Alison Stewart from New Zealand shared her experience of developing and implementing IPM on commercial farms. She is the CEO of the Foundation for Edible Research in New Zealand. Prof Stewart says there are a large number of global challenges out there for agriculture in every country in the world, and New Zealand is no different.

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PlanetPotato podcast: Time to look back, look forward and celebrate an unforgettable year

Potato-market expert Cedric Porter and his tuber-enamoured wife Anna Lambert present a cultural celebration of the potato in all its multi-faceted glory in their PlanetPotato podcast. In the 7th episode of the podcast, they say it’s time “to look back, look forward and celebrate the festive period the best we can” after a year that none us will forget and which has been tough for so many.

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Market analyst: ‘Global French fry trade might not recover until 2022’

Exactly a year ago, potatoes were seeing tight supplies and solid demand and it was expected that pricing would be strong in 2020. Then came Covid-19. Bruce Huffaker, President of North American Potato Market News, says: “It’s been a very big challenge for the industry and for people in general.” 2020 has been the first year since 2003 that the global French fry trade has been in decline compared with the previous year, and while it won’t be able to recover this trend in 2021, it might be able to get back there in 2022, says Huffaker.

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Australia: Specialists explore effect of sanitisers and drying on post-harvest bacterial soft rot in potatoes

Management of rots, both in the field and post-harvest, is an ongoing challenge for potato producers around the world, also in Australia. The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) Partnership Network recently hosted a podcast during which two specialists from the US and Belgium discussed a trial that was set up in Australia to explore the effect of sanitisers and/or drying on the development of post-harvest bacterial soft rot in potatoes.

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Smart farming: How IoT-driven precision agriculture helps feed the globe

In the agriculture industry, farmers face an ever-growing demand to produce more food, even as they struggle to protect their farms against extreme weather, climate change, environmental impact, and more. To meet the increasing needs of a growing population and get the most yield from their farms, growers are turning to new technology powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Scientists document the evolutionary change in P. infestans populations in potato crops in Indonesia

A new study identifies for the first time the genotypes, or strains of P. infestans, causing late blight in the main potato-growing regions on the island of Java in Indonesia and further examines the diversity in the genetic makeup in the P. infestans populations in those regions. Results suggest that the original genotype introduced into Indonesia was probably EU_2_A1 and that there is ongoing evolution in these populations due to a high mutation rate and no selection pressure from the susceptible potato hosts that are currently being grown in Indonesia.

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Syngenta announces launch of ‘Spiropidion’ – A new insecticide active ingredient

Syngenta says in a news release that it is proud to unveil Spiropidion, an innovative new insect control technology that will help farmers protect their crops against damaging sucking pests in an effective and environmentally sustainable manner. Sucking pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, and scales, devastate high value fruit and vegetables. Spiropidion is the result of chemistry-driven innovation within a rare class of insecticides that helps crops from the inside, protecting the whole plant body from attack of damaging sucking pests.

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FAO launches the UN’s International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, earlier this week launched the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021 (IYFV) with an appeal to improve healthy and sustainable food production through innovation and technology and to reduce food loss and waste. Proclaimed at the 74th session the UN General Assembly, IYFV 2021 is dedicated to raising awareness about the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health.

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Keeping soil alive with regenerative agriculture

Four researchers from the Global Food and Environment Institute examine the benefits of regenerative agriculture to celebrate World Soil Day this past Saturday, the 5th of December The researchers are from the University of Leeds in the UK: Professor Steve Banwart, Professor Pippa Chapman, Dr Gesa Reiss, and Professor Lisa Collins. Their article was first published on Medium, and we republish it below with much thanks and great appreciation for their excellent work.

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What are the best practices for modern breeding?

Through “sharing excellence” across programs and geographies, crop breeders are ready to deliver higher rates of genetic gain and varietal turnover. This was the theme of November 10-12’s Excellence in Breeding (EiB) Virtual Meeting 2020, where nearly 250 breeders and leaders came together to share principles, successes and opportunities.

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Yara to align emission reduction goals with Paris Agreement targets

Global crop nutrition leaders Nutrien and Yara, along with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), are undertaking a Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA) for the Nitrogen fertilizer sector. Being an energy-intensive, largely fossil-based industry, the nitrogen fertilizer sector has high emissions intensity and is recognized as a hard-to-abate industry.

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On World Soil Day: Global soils underpin life but future looks ‘bleak’, warns UN report

Global soils are the source of all life on land but their future looks “bleak” without action to halt degradation, according to the authors of a UN report The Guardian newspaper comments on the report, pointing out that a quarter of all the animal species on Earth live beneath our feet and provide the nutrients for all food. Soils also store as much carbon as all plants above ground and are therefore critical in tackling the climate emergency.

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In an age of biofortified food: Study reveals potato’s potential for reducing anemia

Potatoes can be an excellent source of iron. This means potatoes could play an important role in efforts to reduce iron deficiency – the leading cause of anemia, which affects about 2 billion people globally. Whereas people absorb only about 2-10% of the iron in most vegetables, 8% of the iron in pearl millet and less than 10% of the iron in beans, participants in this study absorbed 28% of the iron in the yellow-fleshed potato they ate.

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Good news for potato lovers – especially diabetics

People with type 2 diabetes are often warned against the consumption of high GI foods, such as white potatoes, especially at night as they tend to make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Researchers investigated the impact of potato consumption as part of a mixed evening meal on nocturnal glycemic response. The study concluded that there was no significant difference in glycemic response after eating high GI boiled or roasted potato-based meals compared to low GI basmati rice.

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Opinion: COVID-19 and global potato markets – Impact and consequences

The Coronavirus has had a major impact on the global potato industry since its discovery and spread earlier this year, writes Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets magazine. The crisis led to a 20 percent increase in household consumption of table potatoes in April-May in many countries. Trade in potatoes and potato products declined 3,4% to € 13,240 billion for the Northern Hemisphere from August 2019 to July 2020. The crisis has shown many buyers that potatoes are nutritious, versatile and a valuable food.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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