Asia, India, China, Russia

Fascinating: Amber fossils reveal the true colors of 99-million-year-old insects

Researchers have discovered the true colors of a group of fossilized insects, trapped in amber approximately 99 million years ago in Myanmar. The ancient insects include cuckoo wasps, soldier flies, and beetles, all bursting in metallic blue, purple, and green colors. “The amber is mid-Cretaceous, approximately 99 million years old, dating back to the golden age of dinosaurs,” said Cai Chenyan, the lead author, in a press release.

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McCain building its first potato processing plant in Russia

The Russian language newspaper Kommersant reports that McCain Foods recently started with the construction of its first potato processing plant in the Russian Federation. A Kommersant source in the market confirmed that McCain is working on a project building a plant for the production of French fries, which is reportedly being built in the Uzlovaya Industrial Zone in Tula Oblast in European Russia.

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Japanese potato chip giant Calbee extends telework indefinitely

Calbee Inc., a leading Japanese producer of potato chips and other snack foods, will extend teleworking indefinitely for the 20 percent of its workforce in the country currently doing so. The company announced the decision June 25 after noticing its operational efficiency had significantly improved since the 800 or so Calbee employees at its head office and around the country began teleworking in late March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

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Eye on Russia: The potato farms of the Nizhny Novgorod region

The Nizhny Novgorod Region in Russia is a region with a long history of cultivating potatoes and vegetables. The region is fully self supporting with potatoes, and this is largely due to several high-end farming enterprises that operate in the area. Latkin LLC (1800 ha under potatoes in 2020) is the largest producer of potatoes in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The farm is located in the village of Kozhino, Arzamas district. For more than 28 years, the company has been led by Evgeny Evgenievich Latkin. Read more about this operation and others.

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COVID-19 cases detected at Frito-Lay factory in Beijing: Customers upset

Haunted by the confirmed COVID-19 cases at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay factory in Beijing over the weekend, customers have been left in limbo as to whether they can still purchase their beloved potato chips, according to a news report by CGTN. Feng Zijian, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said there’s no evidence showing PepsiCo’s potato chips have been contaminated with the coronavirus. PepsiCo said all staff at its food factory in Beijing’s Daxing District are home isolating after eight COVID-19 infections were reported at the factory on Saturday.

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Were lessons learned? The Ukrainian potato season 2020/21 gathering pace

Growers in the southern potato producing region of the Ukraine are reportedly well underway to harvest the early potato crop – and supplies are starting to show up in the Ukrainian fresh produce markets. After a difficult and most unprecedented 2019/20 season, market analysts at Fruit-inform have hope that the current season will be better.Results from Fruit-Inform’s survey of Ukrainian potato farmers indicate that the supply of potatoes may grow by at least 5% in 2020. It is unlikely that prices will again set new records in the Ukrainian marketplace.

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‘How the potato came to India and conquered our lives’

From foreign food to a pantry staple, the potato’s journey to India traverses thousands of kilometres and three centuries of culinary assimilation, writes Diya Kohli in this piece published by Conde Nast Traveller. And in times of inflation, it is an upswing in potato prices that throw budgets off for all Indians, from a regular middle-class home to a street food vendor and an upscale restaurant. In the early days of lockdown, people in India stocked up in bulk. Primary among their list of pandemic staples—rice, dal and potatoes.

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HZPC Sadokas in Russia to discuss 2020 growing season during webinar

HZPC Sadokas invites farmers and other stakeholders to attend the upcoming webinar “Technology of cultivation of potato varieties HZPC. Highlights of the growing season “.The webinar will be hosted on July 3 at 13.00 (Moscow time). The webinar will be hosted on July 3 at 13.00 (Moscow time).

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China Potato Expo Online opens

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, the 2020 China Potato Expo Online opened on June 10, 2020. Vice Minister Zhang Taolin attended and addressed the opening ceremony in Beijing. In response to COVID-19, this year’s Expo was held online for the first time. Nearly 1,000 domestic and overseas potato enterprises took part in the virtual expo and over 50,000 visitors worldwide were attracted to the virtual event.

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A lesson in compassion: In Georgia, women potato farmers show solidarity and empathy amid COVID-19

In early May, women from the village of Maradisi, in southeast Georgia in the Caucasus, gained wide renown. Naira Paksadze’s story went viral on social networks and in the media. Together with other active women, Naira hoed her neighbour’s potato field in order to save the family’s potato harvest. At the time, every member of the family was being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, while weeds were growing wild throughout their potato field – their only source of income.

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‘Potato Days Russia 2020’ carried over to be hosted in 2021

Potato System reports that DLG RUS postponed the International Potato Field Day “Potato Days Russia-2020”, which was to be held from July 30 to July 31 in New Kaplino in the Bryansk Region. Thus, “Potato Days Russia” is now scheduled to take place on 29-30 July 2021 in the ‘potato capital’ of Russia – the Bryansk region.

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More than 80% of the intended potato area planted in the Moscow region

Potato System in Russia cites data released by the press service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region, saying that potato producers in the Moscow region have planted potatoes on an area of ??11,200 hectares, which is more than 80% of the intended area to be planted this year. According to Andrei Razin, Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region, more than 14,000 hectares will be planted with potatoes this year in the Moscow Region.

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Chips are down: Asia faces COVID-19 fries shortage

With prices and supply facing uncertainty due to lockdowns and high, panicked demand especially in the APAC region after the COVID-19 outbreak, it might be expected that potatoes would be able to benefit somewhat here – but in reality, there have been multiple factors hindering this opportunity, according to International Potato Center Asia Regional Director Samarendu Mohanty.

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Report: Current and future trends in the Ukrainian potato market

“The 2019/20 potato season in the Ukraine turned out to be the most unprecedented within the whole history of our monitoring,” says the market information company Fruit-Inform in a recent report. “We expected an increase of potato imports into the Ukraine of up to 21,000 tons in our autumn forecast. However, as of March, the imports totaled 300,000 tons!

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‘Potatofied’ innovations: Developing entrepreneurial skills among Indian potato farmers

There is, perhaps, no vegetable in the world as versatile as the potato. And farmers in Assam, India, are proving this fact by developing numerous innovations to bring new products into local markets. The innovations have been created through Value Chain Schools (VCS) within the Assam Agri-Business and Rural Transformation Project (APART) – a project dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial skills among small and marginalized farmers in Assam.

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Dutch processing potatoes sold on the Ukrainian fresh market

The Netherlands has begun supplying potatoes, originally intended for processing, to the Ukraine. Despite the fact that these varieties are not intended for fresh consumption, the processing potatoes from the Netherlands sell well on the fresh market in the Ukraine, mostly because these potatoes are of high quality, while it is sold at prices similar to local Ukrainian potatoes.

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EU, FAO provide 60 tonnes of potato seed to farmers in Tajikistan

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concluded the distribution of 60 tonnes of high quality potato seed to two farmer cooperative unions as part of a European Union-funded project in Tajikistan. Local farmers will have an opportunity to learn about innovative approaches for producing potato seed. Potato is a widely grown crop in Tajikistan, most likely cultivated primarily at higher altitudes than areas dedicated to other principal crops.

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Report: Heavy potato imports by Ukraine; strong Russian exports to neighbouring countries

In a recent report released by Russian based Fruit-Inform, a produce market information company, commercial potato growers in the Ukraine did not report significant losses occurred during the 2019 growing season. However, small-scale garden producers suffered severely reduced yields on average. These smallholder growers is an important part of the potato production infrastructure in the Ukraine. Fruit-Inform further reports that Russian potato production has significantly grown during the autumn of 2019.

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CIP and HZPC collaborate to develop new potato varieties suitable for Southeast Asia

This project builds on ongoing work by the International Potato Center (CIP) developing early-maturing potato varieties that are tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases, thus suitable for growing in tropical climates.In close collaboration with the Netherlands-based global potato seed company HZPC, this project is developing early-maturing varieties with good characteristics for cooking and processing that would be suitable for the local environmental conditions. Five advanced clone candidate varieties will be cultivated and evaluated at high and low altitudes in Vietnam.

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Chinese potato production and export likely to grow this year

The global potato price increased because the production volumes in major production areas declined. The price is already higher than in the last 6 years. The Chinese potato price is lower than the global average. The global price rise therefore stimulates the expansion of potato production in China.

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South Koreans are coming to the rescue of the country’s coronavirus-hit potato farmers

Some people outside of South Korea may remember Gangwon province, located some 50 miles from North Korea, as the location of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. To locals, however, the cool and mountainous region is known for its firm, large potatoes that are used to produce delicacies such as dumplings and pancakes. Demand for Gangwon’s famed potatoes, however, came crashing down this year with the coronavirus outbreak.,

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In India’s Assam state, potatoes are grown with no-tillage; growers receive post-harvest training

As farmers look to grow more food for their families and the marketplace, increasing production sustainably remains a consistent challenge. But a CIP project in Assam state in India has discovered an easy way to produce an annual crop of potatoes with no-tillage and very few additional inputs. For the first time in the State, a day-long training of post-harvest management of potato was recently conducted.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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