South, Central America

Lamb Weston announces $240 million investment in new french fry processing line in Argentina

Lamb Weston Holdings announced this week an expansion of french fry processing capacity in Argentina with the planned construction of a new manufacturing facility in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires. “Our investment in a new french fry processing facility demonstrates our continued confidence in the growing global market for frozen french fries, and our commitment to serving our customers in Argentina and the broader South American market,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston.

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FAO supports Peru’s proposal to establish an ‘International Potato Day’

The FAO Committee on Agriculture recently endorsed a Peruvian initiated project to have May 30 designated world wide as “International Potato Day”. The Committee aims to get the proposal approved by the FAO Council and Conference, and also presented to the United Nations General Assembly. If approved, the first International Potato Day will be celebrated globally on May 30, 2024.

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In Memoriam: A tribute to Dr. Barbara H. Wells, Director General, International Potato Center

“The unexpected passing of Dr. Barbara Wells in February 2022 was a blow to everyone at CIP and across the CGIAR and our partner organizations,” writes Dr. Oscar Ortiz, interim Director General of CIP in this memoriam article, published in CIP’s Annual Report for 2021. “From the hallways of CIP headquarters in Lima, Peru to the field site of the most remote CIP and CGIAR science team, Barbara was liked and respected by all. Her presence will be greatly missed.”

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CIP’s Annual Report 2021 ‘From lab to field to scale’ now available online

The Lima-based International Potato Center’s (CIP) work to reduce hunger and malnutrition, boost farmer resilience, and catalyze income improvements generated benefits for men and women in more than 30 countries last year. To communicate some of those achievements and give people a sense of how CIP harnesses science to improve lives and livelihoods, the organization included varied examples in CIP’s Annual Report 2021: From lab to field to scale, which is now available online.

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Elea and Inka Crops testing Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) systems for Peruvian snacks

Inka Crops is specialised in the production and marketing of gourmet and alternative snacks of Peruvian origin. In 2019 Inka Crops and Elea started to cooperate, testing PEF applicability on plantain and vegetable chips, as well as Andean snacks, in Elea’s pilot testing facilities. The work has shown the potential to improve raw material slicing and product yield, reduce frying time and temperature, and enhance product texture and colour.

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Seed banks: The last line of defense against a threatening global food crisis

As the risks from the climate crisis and global conflict increase, roughly 1,700 seed banks are increasingly considered a priceless resource that could one day prevent a worldwide food crisis, write Salomé Gómez-Upegui and Rita Liu in an extensive article published by The Guardian. One of these is the Potato Park, located in Pisac, Peru.

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CIP’s 50th anniversary: Celebrating Andean agrobiodiversity, launching two unique books

The International Potato Center (CIP) recently celebrated a significant milestone – the 50th anniversary of its founding. In an event entitled Agrobiodiversity for people, the planet and prosperity, friends of CIP gathered virtually worldwide to focus on CIP’s relationship with Peru, the Andes and the region’s important role to play in food systems transitions building on its unique agrobiodiversity.

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CIP mourns the passing of Director General, Barbara H. Wells

The International Potato Center (CIP) expresses its collective grief to note the passing of Barbara Wells, our Director General and the Global Director of Genetic Innovation for CGIAR. “Through a steadfast commitment to genetic innovation, high-impact research and mentoring female scientists, Dr. Wells helped devise solutions to agriculture’s most pressing challenges and, in the process, bolstered nutrition and food security for millions of vulnerable people around the world.”

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Colombia’s Frozen Express finds success with Elea PEF system

In August 2021, Frozen Express has installed an Elea PEF system into their production line as part of an upgrade of their processing line. The aim of the PEF implementation was to be able to produce larger fries in different shapes with better quality and to save costs in the production process.

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The Brazilian conservation farmer who ‘kidnaps’ carbon: ‘This makes me a better farmer’

“As a conservation farmer, the practices we use on our farm are allowing us to ‘kidnap carbon’ from the atmosphere and store it in our soil. This makes me a better farmer. The practice of carbon farming supports my efforts to grow more food and help the environment at the same time,” writes Andre-Figueiredo Dobashi in this article published by Global Farmer Network. The article is titled “I’m a conservation farmer who kidnaps carbon for good”.

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CIP: Putting the world’s largest potato collection in the deep freeze

The International Potato Center (CIP) is conserving the future of potato genetic diversity in the world’s largest potato cryobank and setting new standards to transform the way that other priority clonal crops like sweetpotato and yams are held in safe storage. These innovations ensure we have an essential backup collection of the clonal crops that 300 million smallholders in developing countries depend on.

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The ‘potato custodians’ in the Andes who are safeguarding this crop’s future

In the Peruvian Andes, “potato custodians” are preserving hundreds of varieties of our humble tuber. In this CNN video, aired a couple of days ago, you will meet one of the hundreds of Latin American “custodians” of indigenous potato varieties. There are about 4,000 native potato varieties in the world, and most of them are grown in the Andes. Only a handful are available in supermarkets around the world. Climate change is threatening agricultural systems, making this kind of diversity an insurance policy for our future food security.

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XAG demonstrates potential of fully autonomous drones for potato farmers

Flying into the Andes mountains of Ecuador, XAG Agricultural Drones are recently introduced to a series of on-farm spray trials for high-altitude specialty crops. The demonstrations on potato fields have presented the high potential of fully autonomous drones in reducing labour cost and agricultural pesticide exposure. The agile agricultural drone would be a powerful tool to promote sustainable farming in Ecuador’s 3.2 million hectares of cultivable soil.

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‘G+ Tools’: A new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding

In response to the challenges of climate change, growing demands for food, and persistent malnutrition, crop breeders across the Global South are developing more resilient, productive and nutritious potato varieties. The G+ Tools – a new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding developed by the International Potato Center and the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas – promises to address this barrier by advancing a holistic framework to evaluate what traits men and women, farmers and consumers want in their potato, sweetpotato, cassava, and other crop varieties.

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‘Nutritional giant, friend of peasants, rulers and sages’: How the humble potato changed the world

How could an Andean tuber persuade the world, in just a few centuries, to adopt it so completely? Diego Arguedas Ortiz explains in this great article: What made the potato so irresistible was its unrivalled nutritional value, its relative easiness to cultivate as compared to some major cereals, its ability to easily navigate wars and tax censuses due to its knack for hiding underground from collectors, and in particular, its camaraderie with working men and women in the fields.

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‘Chuno’: An Andean dehydrated potato foodstuff that lasts for decades after preparation

Chuno comes from the indigenous Aymara word ch’unu. It is also practiced in Peru, but its origins are uncertain. Archeologist Jedu Sagarnaga believes this conservation method was developed “probably during the Formative Period” from around 2,000 to 200 BC. It may be even older, as 2017 tests on chuno dug up in Peru showed it was more than 5,000 years old. After it is prepared, this foodstuff lasts for decades.

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‘Native potatoes: From forgotten crop to culinary boom and market innovation’

Once neglected by urban consumers, Andean native potatoes are now essential ingredients for some of the most sophisticated gastronomy of the world, according to the authors of this article, published in Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues. André Devaux, Guy Hareau, Miguel Ordinola, Jorge Andrade-Piedra, and Graham Thiele write, “from colored chips to delicacy vegetables and even liquors, new products are making their way into high-income market niches.”

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Potato cultivation in Peru creates 34 million daily wages for small family farming producers

Potato cultivation has become a notable driver of regional and local economy in the potato producing areas in Peru. It generates intensive labor in Peru, which means around 34 million daily wages per season for small family farming producers, the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation (Midagri) reported. “Although potato cultivation generates more than 110,000 fixed or permanent jobs, the most remarkable aspect is the creation of the intensive temporary jobs nationwide,” Midagri’s potato chain specialist Juan Miguel Quevedo says.

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Restrain expands in Latin America, appoints Daniel Caldiz as international potato consultant

Restrain, the well-known manufacturer of anti-sprouting systems for potatoes, is expanding its business in Latin America. Since April 1, the company has been receiving assistance on the continent itself. International potato expert and agronomist Daniel Caldiz has joined Restrain as an international potato consultant. Caldiz was associated with the University of La Plata, Argentina as an agronomic researcher for more than twenty years. He then worked in research & development at McCain Foods between 2000 and 2020.

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Peruvian native potato vodka awarded sixth international gold medal

The first Peruvian vodka made from Andean native potatoes was awarded its sixth international gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the most important competitions in the United States, the State-run Innovate Peru (Innovate Yourself, Peru) Program reports. It says that Vodka 14 Inkas obtained this distinction for the third consecutive year – a celebration of the intensive research and development work done to achieve a high-quality product that meets international standards.

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UK horticultural centre features pressing of potato plant collected by Darwin in South America

It’s a £160million showcase for gardening science and a treasure trove of secrets. Now the Royal Horticultural Society’s new state-of-the-art Hilltop centre is preparing to welcome visitors for the first time. Prized items include a potato plant brought back by Charles Darwin from South America – preserved as a pressing. Darwin collected it on an island off Chile in 1835.

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The ‘Phoenixes’ in our food systems: Women farmers in Peru safeguarding the survival of potato biodiversity

Women farmers are key leaders in the survival of potato biodiversity. During a research trip to Peru hosted by the International Potato Center (CIP) in September 2019, the author of this article – Margaret M. Zeigler – observed how they live and labor in terraced fields at extremely high altitudes, cultivating crops that face threats from frost and pests. They play a central role in native potato conservation.

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Lamb Weston branded french fries arrive in South America

Lamb Weston recently announced the arrival of Lamb Weston branded french fries in Mercosur. This was made possible through a joint venture with Sociedad Comercial del Plata in Argentina, called Lamb Weston Alimentos Modernos S.A. (AMSA). These two globally renowned companies have come together to bring the Lamb Weston brand to Foodservice in the region.

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‘Fight the blight’: CIP developed an app to help potato farmers in developing countries reduce agrochemical use

Late blight disease remains the biggest threat to potato farming globally, causing USD billions of crop loss each year. In most areas, farmers can only grow potatoes if they regularly apply fungicides, which control the highly destructive pathogen but pose risks to the environment, farmers and their families. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) have developed an easy-to-use decision support tool to help farmers optimize their fungicide use.

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