Africa

2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa

Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.

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New Potatoes South Africa awareness campaign highlights resilience, optimism of unsung industry heroes

Potatoes South Africa (PSA) has launched a bold new awareness campaign in a bid to create perspective about the resilience and performance of the potato industry’s stakeholders in the country, especially in the context of South Africa recently marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 disruption. Called #WhenHopeWhispers, the campaign aims to highlight the resilient spirit and contributions of various stakeholders from the potato industry.

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Kenyan potato production expected to surge, farmers encouraged to switch

Kenya’s potato production could hit 2.5 million tonnes in 2021 up from the estimated 2 million tonnes produced in 2020, the industry said last Friday. Wachira Kaguongo, CEO of National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) told Xinhua in Nairobi that both production and demand were affected last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We expect production to rebound in 2021 due to favorable weather as well as increased potato seed distribution to farmers,” Kaguongo said.

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Kenya applies for multi million dollar IFAD grant to boost seed potato production

Kenya has applied for a Sh656 million (approx US$6 mil) grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost research on potato seed production and cut reliance on imports. The fund will be used to increase the availability of certified seed in the country and cut the imports of tubers, which has been blamed for introducing foreign pests in the country. Kenya

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CIP: Virtual training webinar to cover apical rooted cuttings

This virtual training webinar, hosted by the International Potato Center (CIP), will cover all aspects of apical rooted cuttings for potato seed production, including sessions on tissue culture multiplication, transplantation, and acclimatization of tissue culture plantlets in polyhouse, among others. The panel will include experts from CIP, the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot (UHS).

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Kenyan potato farmers increase yields with higher-quality seed and improved agronomic practices

In the village of Meru, in eastern Kenya, farmers are celebrating better potato harvests. In just the past two years, their harvests have increased from 10 tons per hectare to 28, bringing them close to the range of yields in most European countries (between 30-50 tons/ha). Farmers credit the increase to higher-quality seed combined with improved agronomic practices. In the past, farmers used potatoes from the previous season

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Dutch criminals said to use potato exports to Africa to launder money

According to the Fiscale Inlichtingen en OpsporingsDienst (FIOD), Dutch criminals are increasingly using potato exports to Africa to launder money, FIOD chief Bert Langerak has said. Investigations by the tax fraud detection body, whose annual report was published on Monday, has shown that criminals

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2Blades Foundation: The quest to bring a durable, blight-resistant potato to African farmers

The 2Blades Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in the Chicago area, is a principal sponsor of a project that recently developed a durable solution for the late blight potato disease. The discovery is of historic importance, and now 2Blades is seeking partners to help bring this disease-resistant potato variety to market and fight hunger in East Africa. 2Blades Foundation says it is honored to have the support of the son of Robert F. Kennedy, businessman Chris Kennedy, for its African Potato Initiative.

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Coronavirus lockdown abroad forces Egypt

Wholesale prices for potatoes have decreased sharply over the past week in Egypt, driving Egyptian farmers to abandon their own crops due to lockdown polices from importing countries harming the Egyptian product, saturating the local market and causing low demand and widespread dumping. Experts claimed that the crop is subject to a dumping policy and warned that farmers would be reluctant to grow potatoes next season, calling for urgent intervention by the government to protect food security.

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Fight the blight: Why a new potato variety could be a game-changer for farmers in East Africa

Researchers from the National Agricultural Research Organisation Uganda and the International Potato Center, have developed a new variety of potato which is resistant to late blight. Using new molecular techniques, they transferred late-blight resistance genes into the popular East African potato variety Victoria. The new variety, known as 3R Victoria, is almost identical to the variety farmers now plant in Uganda, with one crucial difference. It contains three genes from a potato relative that provide it with complete resistance to the late blight pathogen.

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Kenya Netherlands Seed Potato Program: Working together on sustainable potato production in Kenya

The Kenyan highlands have the potential to grow an excellent potato crop. However, the yields (7 – 10 T/ha) have not yet reached their potential. To assist the sector to optimize its production, the Kenya Netherlands Seed Potato Program – financed by the Government of the Netherlands – was started. The program has already led to several positive developments since its launch in Kenya. 34 Dutch varieties are registered for cultivation by potato farmers in Kenya. Several sustainable solutions, such as storage, have been introduced.

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Sustainability in practice: Nature-friendly farming reduces costs for South African potato farmer

Managing plant health and strict water monitoring have paved the way to success for AL 3 Boerdery in South Africa’s Limpopo province. CT van der Merwe spoke to Lindi Botha of Farmers Weekly about the production practices that keep his farming business profitable. Potato production at AL 3 Boerdery is spread across three provinces to ensure a 10-month supply to the markets. Farms in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape provide an annual harvest of between 55 000t and 60 000t, and achieve an average yield of 60t/ha.

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Key Technology and Heat and Control form strategic partnership in South Africa and Sub-Saharan

Key Technology, Inc., a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, and Heat and Control Pty Ltd. announce an extension of their existing strategic partnership, supporting customers in Australia, New Zealand and India, to now include the region of South Africa and Sub-Saharan. Under the terms of the agreement, Key has appointed Heat and Control as their exclusive agent in these regions to sell and service Key

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Kenya: Potato-legume intercropping can decrease soil erosion, improve moisture retention, boost yields

The potato-growing belts in sub-Saharan Africa have experienced steady increases in heat stress, irregular rainfall, persistent droughts, high soil erosion rates and recurrent floods. Researchers Nyawade Shadrack, Elke Vandamme, Michael Friedmann and Monica Parker report on two potential roles of potato-legume intercropping: (i) improved control of soil erosion to make potato production more sustainable in the highlands; and (ii) optimizing soil temperatures, soil water contents and soil nutrient balance thus enabling potato production in the drier midland agro-food systems.

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‘The future is now’: Kiremko Remote Service starts up new Moroccan french fry line remotely

In a new milestone experience for both Kiremko and Moroccan potato processor Fun Fries, the new french fry line that was installed last summer was eventually started up entirely remotely using augmented reality. When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Kiremko’s engineers from boarding planes, a door was opened for a highly innovative solution that Kiremko developed: the Kiremko Remote Service. This service uses an advanced headset with camera, sound and monitor, an Internet connection and high-quality technicians on both sides of that connection.

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First successful True Potato Seed (TPS) trial of Solynta and Solidaridad in Mozambique shows potential

A first pilot using True Potato Seed (TPS) in Angonia District, Tete province in Mozambique, conducted by Solidaridad and Solynta shows great potential to drastically improve and innovate potato production in Mozambique. The potato crop is increasingly important for nutrition security and farmer livelihoods in Mozambique and many countries in Africa. Between August 2019 and April 2020 Solidaridad Mozambique and Solynta executed the first hybrid TPS field trial ever in Mozambique: growing potatoes from true seeds rather than traditional seed potatoes.

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National Potato Council and Corteva in Kenya to introduce new technologies and train smallholder farmers

The National Potato Council of Kenya and Corteva Agriscience have embarked on plans to increase yield among smallholder farmers from 7 tonnes to 20 tonnes per hectare. The partnership intends to introduce new technologies and train smallholder farmers in Kenya on how to improve potato yields through the use of quality seed, resilient and improved varieties, pest and disease management, post-harvest management, and record-keeping.

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