Across Regions

Global potato statistics: An overview

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) maintains a databasis on many different crops, named FAOSTAT. It provides a powerful search facility that users can employ and manipulate to obtain data about a chosen crop. I extracted data for the potato crop related to “production” and “area harvested”, and present the results in the tables below (for 130 countries where potatoes are cultivated). The latest FAOSTAT data available is for 2018.

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‘Unsung potato heroes’: Indigenous peoples hold the past and future of food in their hands

August 9 is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – a celebration of the uniqueness of the traditions of Quechua, Huli, Zapotec, and thousands of other cultures, but also of the universality of potatoes, bananas, beans, and the rest of the foods that nourish the world. These crops did not arise out of thin air. For centuries, crop diversity has enriched the world, but has been taken out of the hands of Indigenous people in doing so. That story is only beginning to shift as the rest of the world starts to give Indigenous farmers the respect they are due.

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World Potato Congress Inc Industry Award Nominations now open

President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC), Mr. Romain Cools, Belgium and the Chairman of the WPC Industry Awards Committee, Mr. Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin, USA are pleased to announce that nominations are now being called for the 2021 World Potato Congress Industry Awards. The World Potato Congress Industry Awards is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. Prominent past Industry Award recipients include: Mr. J.R. Simplot and Mr. Harrison McCain.

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CIP’s 2019 annual report celebrates a year of discovery, innovation and impact

Technology to accelerate potato breeding in Lima… state of the art tools to diagnose crop diseases in the fields of Uganda… and fresh hearty varieties to boost incomes for smallholder farmers in India. These are just a few of the accomplishments of the International Potato Center (CIP) in 2019, which is commemorating those feats, and others, in its annual report, released this week. The annual report presents compelling snapshots of CIP’s work with 161 partners in 19 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, telling stories about relief work with sweetpotato in Mozambique and simple storage innovations that are putting more income in the pockets of Ethiopian farmers.

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NPC targets Belgium and The Netherlands in its support for US tariff action against EU frozen fry imports

In late July, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US sent a letter to the General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying it “strongly supports USTR tariff action against EU frozen fries.” In the letter, NPC says in order to ensure the action is an appropriate enforcement mechanism, it is critically important that such action be broadened to include frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to those countries already outlined.

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The technology behind a new agricultural revolution

By 2050, Earth is projected to be home to ten billion people. To feed them, we will need to increase crop production by at least 60 percent, writes Matt Harman in this blog article published by ESRI. Yet climate change, water scarcity, and soil erosion will force us to rethink how we grow crops. And rampant urbanization, with so many people living far away from agricultural areas, will force us to find more efficient ways to distribute food. The third green revolution builds on established precision agriculture practices, while creating a larger picture of the agricultural landscape farmers are operating within.

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Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko: Three identities, one brand

Three well-known companies in the potato industry, three identities, one brand. Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko have been strategic partners for decades. In a press release, the companies say: “We believe in the success of partnerships, with our combined teams we share our know-how. This collaboration is unique and ensures that we can serve the entire world market with state-of-the-art potato processing lines. With production facilities in the Netherlands and the US, we are able to deliver the same quality of innovative equipment to virtually any location.

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Winner of the World’s first International Potato Photography competition: ‘End of lockdown’

Today the organizers of the World’s first international Potato photography competition are thrilled to announce the winner… And the overall winner is: Ray Spence. The competition was inspired in part by the photo of a potato taken by acclaimed photographer Kevin Abosch that sold for $1 million in 2016. It is a splendid photograph and just goes to show there’s an appetite for potato-based photo-art…

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Kids and potatoes: An endearing pictorial

Dear folks, during the course of the many hours I spend each day of the week scouring the Internet – and other sources – in search of sensible potato related information to share with you here on Potato News Today, I often come across some endearing photos and stories of kids and their ‘relationship’ with potatoes. I wish to share just a handful of these with you here – in the hope that you might appreciate the pictures as much as I do? As the expression goes – a picture often speaks a thousand words…

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Latest PlanetPotato podcast: Off to Idaho, and learning why a potato makes an ideal block printer

World Potato Markets travels to Idaho and tries its hand at potato printing in the latest episode of its PlanetPotato podcast. Presenters Anna Lambert and Cedric Porter discuss why Idaho established as the US’s largest potato state with Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission. Printer Molly Mahon describes why a potato makes an ideal block printer for making patterned paper and fabric.

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In defense of potatoes

In the world of nutrition, potatoes seem to have fallen from grace. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes still — largely — get away scot-free. What is this travesty? Angela Dowden, British award-winning health journalist and Registered Nutritionist examines the evidence in this article published by the American Council on Science and Health.

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Opinion: ‘EU and US markets are an ocean apart’

While the US market has tightened over the last few weeks as orders from foodservice outlets return and shoppers continue to buy more potatoes and potato products for home consumption, there has been a decidedly weaker tone to the EU market as it becomes apparent that growers have not cut back plantings this year and the weather becomes more favourable for the growing crop. This observation is made by Cedric Porter, Editor of World Potato Markets.

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The humble potato: How it became a global food source and changed the world

A staple food for cultures across the globe, the tuber has emerged as a nutritional giant and the friend of peasants, rulers and sages. Even today, its possibilities are endless. So says Diego Arguedas Ortiz in an article published on the BBC’s website. He reference food historian Rebecca Earle’s observation in her book Feeding the People: The Politics of the Potato: “Despite its origins in the Andes, it’s an incredibly successful global food,” she writes, “It’s grown practically everywhere in the world, and practically everywhere, people consider it one of ‘our foods’.”

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Report: The global potato market hits record highs

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Potato – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. We re-publish a part of a summary of the report’s key findings below – the full summary can be viewed on the IndexBox website. The report says that in 2019, the global potato market increased by 6% to $140.5B, rising for the third consecutive year after two years of decline. The market value increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% from 2007 to 2019; the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Over the period under review, the global market hits record highs in 2019.

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It was said: Quotes worth remembering

Dear Potato News Today readers, please find here a few quotations that we selected from news items published on our site the past couple of weeks. We believe these reflect the current state of affairs in different sectors of the potato industry, and in several countries around the world.

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Low-tech tool helps fight potato late blight

Late blight is the most destructive potato disease in the world. It affects all potato producers (small-scale, commercial, seed producers, even urban producers) and the annual losses in developing countries are estimated at EUR 10?billion. Toward this end, the International Potato Center (CIP), in partnership with research and development institutions in Ecuador and Peru, has developed a low-tech tool to help farmers optimize fungicide use.

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Interview: How PepsiCo is supporting smallholder potato farmers

In this interview, Pepsico Vice President of Sustainability, Christine Daugherty, speaks with demonstration farmer Ketsarin Boonkerd on how PepsiCo is supporting smallholder farmers and helping them flourish. Ms. Boonkerd is a potato farmer in Thailand. By adopting sustainable farming practices such as drip irrigation, with PepsiCo’s support, she grew her yield by 45% and reduced her water use by 28% in just one year. She also increased her income by $1,500 per acre. Today, Ms. Boonkerd helps farmers in her community and beyond to see the value in these more-sustainable farming practices.

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‘From ridge to bed’ – The next step in HZPC’s potato innovation

Increasing food security in areas that are hard to access. This is one of the ideas behind an important potato innovation by HZPC: hybrid potato breeding. This innovation has been under development for many years. And now it’s time for the next step. Seed potatoes from hybrid potatoes grow successfully on the well-known ‘ridges’ and now also in so-called ‘beds’. Flower bulbs are grown in this type of bed too.

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New book digs into the political history of potatoes

Rebecca Earle, food historian and professor at the University of Warwick, has spent several years tracing the history of the potato from its early origins in the Andes to the commonly consumed starch that makes it onto kitchen tables around the world. In her latest book, Feeding the People: The Politics of the Potato, Earle explains the crop’s evolution to become today’s global staple, but also dives into how the vegetable became central to government dietary policy over the years.

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Agriculture, engagement with female potato farmers central focus of PepsiCo’s sustainability approach

PepsiCo released its 2019 sustainability report, Helping to Build a More Sustainable Food System, just last week. Nearly 80% of PepsiCo’s main crops – including potatoes, corn, oats and oranges – are sourced sustainably, up from 51% in 2018. Explicit inclusion of women in farming initiatives is good business for PepsiCo, according to Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer at PepsiCo. For instance, the company has engaged with female potato farmers in rural areas in many countries.

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Podcast: You are invited to relax with PlanetPotato

The latest PlanetPotato podcast urges you to relax with a potato. It whisks you off to the Kartoffel Hotel in Germany where – as well as enjoying dozens of delicious potato dishes – you can be pampered in its potato spa! Chill out and detox with a potato mash wrap or luxuriate in a potato bath and let the cares of the world float away… The podcast also speaks to Elin Tornblad of Swedish start-up Potato Plastics, which is using potatoes to replace a whole range of plastic products from cutlery to cling film.

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Fighting beetles the low-tech way…

Well, as the expression goes – where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Especially if a plan’s got to be made to rid one’s potatoes of them free-mealing Colorado potato beetles…

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today


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