Asia, India, China, Russia

Potato Corner to launch digital micro-series to drive consumer engagement

What can possibly happen in 10 seconds? For Filipinos hooked to their mobile phones for more than 10 hours a day every day, 10 seconds is a lot. A new advertising concept will even shake things up in online consumer engagement as Potato Corner, the beloved “flavored fries,” brings its playful and fun flavors in a pioneering, never-before-seen storytelling adventure.

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And now you can chomp on ‘5050 Potazos’ – half potato chip, have biscuit…

India’s Britannia 50-50 has launched the ‘5050 Potazos’. It is billed as a ‘fusion’ product that brings together potato chip and biscuit. The brand undertook a nationwide consumer survey in the run up to the launch, and the product was rated by consumers as the ‘best new product’ in the snacking space, with 90 per cent of consumers giving it a ‘definitely buy’ rating.

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‘Small is beautiful’: Technico offers wide range of TechniTuber® potato varieties world wide

The Technico Group of Companies announced today that it is in the process of upgrading and commercialising its award winning TECHNITUBER Seed Potato Technology for suitable application across various geographic regions in the world. According to CEO Dr. Soundar Soundararadjane, “The TECHNITUBER® seed size of approximately 13mm, weighing a mere 1.5 grams, is viable enough to be planted at only approximately 100 kg per hectare. TECHNITUBER seeds are delivered pre-sprouted in ‘field ready’ conditions and are easily transported.

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India’s WayCool Foods to invest in SV Agri to boost supply of potato seed, storage and processing facilities

WayCool Foods, a fast growing agri-commerce company in India, announced this week that they will be investing USD 5 million into Siddhi Vinayak Agri Processing Pvt. Ltd (SV Agri), one of India’s fully integrated players in the potato supply chain. The investment will allow both WayCool and SV Agri to leverage their strong supply chain eco-systems and boost the quality and supply of potato seed, storage and processing facilities across India.

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Indian scientists developed smartphone app to help potato farmers detect late blight disease

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have developed a smartphone app for automated disease detection in potato crops using photographs of its leaves. “Automated disease detection can help in this regard and given the extensive proliferation of the mobile phones across the country, the smartphone could be a useful tool for potato farmers in this regard,” said Mr. Joe Johnson, Research Scholar, IIT Mandi.

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Chinese scientists make breakthrough in potato breeding

A research team led by Professor Huang Sanwen with the Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen initiated the “Upotato Plan”, which utilized the theory and methods of genome design to carry out hybrid potato breeding, ‘re-inventing’ the potato from a clonally propagated tetraploid crop into an inbred line-based diploid crop, propagated by seeds.

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The ‘touchy-feely’ potato: Researchers developed bio-sensor to detect early signs of plant stress

In an effort to increase agricultural productivity and limit waste, a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment developed a method to detect signs of stress before potato plants are damaged. By employing genetic engineering, the team introduced a new gene coded to a fluorescent protein that reports the level of reactive ‘oxygen specieses’ – highly reactive molecules whose accumulation signifies stress responses.

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Pakistani research facility produces disease free nuclear potato seed to boost production, self sufficiency

The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council has produced 150,000 nuclear potato tubers, which would help in producing over 50,000 tones of certified seed to help with boosting yields and the availability of disease free potato seed in the country. This milestone was achieved after the commercialization of potato tissue culture technology. The seed will now be provided to the private sector and individual growers to multiply the seed on their own for commercial production.

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USAID and CIP open potato seed model farm in the Republic of Georgia

Dignitaries, researchers, and private sector representatives gathered this week in southwestern Georgia to celebrate the opening of potato seed model farm that will provide ideas, training and high-quality seed to potato farmers throughout the country. The seed model farm is one part of the USAID Potato Program in Georgia, a multi-faceted intervention to improve potato seed systems in the country. The International Potato Center (CIP) is leading the initiative.

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HZPC: Serving the Russian seed potato market via an alternative route

In Russia, HZPC is using an unconventional strategy to secure its seed potato trade with the country for the future: In 2019, a small breeding company was set up to provide Russian contract growers with pre-basis seed potatoes. In 2020, the production of mini-tubers was added too. These choices were made due to Russia’s aim to be entirely self-supporting within its borders and completely shut out the import of seed potatoes in due course.

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‘Plant-speak’: Scientists developed device to ‘communicate’ with plants

A team of scientists led by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a device that can deliver electrical signals to and from plants, opening the door to new technologies that make use of plants. The NTU team developed their plant ‘communication’ device by attaching a conformable electrode (a piece of conductive material) on the surface of a Venus flytrap plant using a soft and sticky adhesive known as hydrogel. The NTU team is looking to devise other applications using an improved version of their plant ‘communication’ device.

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Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership: Annual report released

The Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is a five-year, $5.9 million multi-institution cooperative agreement between MSU, USAID, Simplot Company and other global institutions to develop and bring to market improved potato products in farmer- and consumer-preferred varieties in Asian countries. BPP offers biotech potato products with broad-spectrum resistance to late blight. The BPP annual report for FY 2020 is now available.

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Lamb Weston to build new potato processing plant in China

Lamb Weston has announced an expansion of french fry processing capacity in China. “The french fry category is poised for growth globally, and China continues to be a critical market for us,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston. “This investment of in-country production for the China market is a clear example of our commitment to our strategic customers and supporting their growth plans well into the future.”

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Pakistan aims to become self-sufficient in high quality potato seed production

Pakistan is poised to become self-sufficient in the production of high quality potato seed by mid-2022. The country is said to start producing high-quality, virus-free, third-generation potato seed with the help of aeroponic technology imported from South Korea. The move will reduce the import bill for potato seed, which is $400 million per annum. Aeroponics is a soilless method for producing high quality seed in a greenhouse.

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Researchers review the spread of late blight across Asia over a century and a half

Researchers Sanjoy Guha Roy, Tanmoy Dey, David E. L. Cooke and Louise R. Cooke recently published this review in the journal Plant Pathology. In a news article for the The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) the research team writes they have scoured the literature to report on the dynamics of Phytophthora infestans (1870-2020) that has shadowed the expansion of potato cropping.

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EU Commission clears acquisition of Belchim by Japanese based Mitsui

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Belgium based Belchim by Mitsui, headquartered in Japan. The Commission’s investigation found that the proposed transaction, as originally notified, would have reduced competition in the following crop protection markets: Plant growth regulators (PGR) used to prevent or control sprouting in stored potatoes. Paraffinic oils used to prevent or limit the spread of viruses in seed potatoes and flower bulbs.

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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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The AsiaBlight Network looks to the future

As in many potato-growing parts of the world, late blight disease stifles production and earnings. In China, the story is no different as smallholder potato farmers lose millions of tons of potato and hundreds of millions of dollars annually in potential income due to this pathogen

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Nearly 3 million farmers in Asia embrace CIP-bred potatoes, raising revenues and resilience

An assessment published in 2018 found that 19% of the total land area devoted to potato production in these seven countries was planted with varieties bred at the International Potato Center (CIP) or by national partners in collaboration with CIP. Between 2008 and 2015, the area planted with those varieties more than doubled to 1.43 million hectares. Over the past 40 years, CIP scientists have helped 2.93 million potato farming households to produce more food and generate more income.

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Bangladesh to import blight resistant GMO varieties developed at Michigan State University

Thousands of farmers in Bangladesh grow potatoes on over one million acres of land, spending up to a fourth of their investment on fungicide sprays to fight late blight. The disease damages 20 percent of the total potato production in the country. The Bangladeshi government has finally allowed its scientists to import two blight resistant (RB) potato varieties, developed at the Michigan State University (MSU), and agreed that field trials can be conducted with the varieties.

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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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Lamb Weston / Meijer acquires majority share in Russia

Potato processor Lamb Weston / Meijer has strengthened its position in the frozen processed potato market in Russia with the acquisition of a majority share in its existing joint venture with the Belaya Dacha Group. The joint venture owns Russia

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