Across Regions

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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Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of the journalism literati, and usually associated with such apocalyptic terms as “ecosystem collapse” and “food crisis”. The culprit: modern agriculture, which is often linked to the Brave Not-So-New World of GMOs and gene-edited crops and the chemicals purportedly used to support it.

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World Potato Congress Inc. announces three new Directors to its Board

Romain Cools, President and CEO of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) is pleased to announce that three new Directors are being be appointed to its Board effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Nigel Crump, Australia and Mrs. Elven Huang, China are former WPC International Advisors and Mr. Bret Nedrow in the USA are all welcomed additions to WPC, bringing with them vast experiences in the global potato industry.

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It was said: Quotes worth remembering

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…

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The global impact of coronavirus on potato production: Examples and lessons learnt

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.

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‘So, God made a farmer’

Dear Readers, most of us, whoever we are, and wherever we are located in the world, live no doubt in tumultuous and unprecedented times in the current day and age. And so do thousands upon thousands of farmers around the world. As an ex farmer, I feel dearly for them. As a humble ode to our farmers,, I decided to share with you here a poem that some of you might be familiar with. It is titled “So, God Made a Farmer”.

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Grief for a world killed by COVID

“If nothing else, sheltering in place gives me a lot of time to think. As I maneuver through these unprecedented times, I have been filled with an abundance of contradictory information about our new invisible enemy,” writes Nolan Ahn in a touching piece published in The Garden Island. “My Zoom friends tell me to focus on being grateful, rather than denying or being angry over my loss. While I appreciate their concern and love for me, I’m not there yet. Perhaps one day, I will find meaning in the loss. But for today, I grieve.”

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Plant drug factories: GMOs and gene editing are poised to transform medicine. Here’s how.

Plant biotechnology is poised to drastically improve how we consume medication. Using the modern tools of genetic engineering, researchers are developing plant-based drugs that are cheaper, easier to take and even more effective than their existing counterparts. Tautvydas Shuipys reports for the Genetic Literacy Project. A Canada-based company has announced that using this same technology, they have produced a candidate vaccine for COVID-19 in twenty days.

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World Potato Markets: Assessing a season like no other

The coronavirus has disrupted the global potato market like no other single event before it, but there are some signs things settling at least a new normal, according to Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets. World Potato Markets has just published its annual review of production, prices and trade. Potato News Today readers can enjoy a special purchase rate.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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