Across Regions

On the 8th day: ‘God made a farmer’

Dear Readers, most of us – whoever we are, and wherever we are located in the world – no doubt live in tumultuous and unprecedented times in the current day and age. Some more so than others, for sure. But still – so do thousands upon thousands of farmers around the world… As an ex-farmer myself, I have so much empathy with them, dear readers? A decades-old speech from a conservative radio broadcaster in the U.S., Paul Harvey (who passed away in 2009) became a major topic of chatter when it was delivered in America in 1978. Here then is the text and a video of his speech, titled ‘So, God made a farmer’ – upon popular request.

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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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Company develops novel pheromone trap to help farmers monitor click beetles

A new, highly effective lure has been developed by International Pheromone Systems (IPS) in the UK that can help farmers to monitor all three types of Agriotes beetles. Agriotes beetles are one of the most economically damaging pests of arable and horticultural crops. Their slow-growing larvae (wire worms) feed on the roots of a variety of root and leafy crops including potatoes. The IPS pheromone trap was found to perform as well as other traps in the field and offers a more robust option for growers.

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‘Earth Overshoot Day’: Mankind has already used up its resources for the year 2022

We are just halfway through the year, and humanity has already used up all the resources the Earth can sustainably produce. From now on, we are borrowing from the future. For the rest of the year, mankind will be inflicting an unsustainable toll on the planet, according to the calculations for Earth Overshoot Day. At the current rate, humanity would need three-quarters of another planet to feed the current rate of resource use.

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Harvesting crop insight tool HarvestEye to exhibit at potato expos in Scotland and Germany

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is taking to the European stage as it prepares to exhibit at two major potato events, Potatoes in Practice and PotatoEurope. Fitting to both existing harvesting or grading equipment, the technology provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over whole field, which is otherwise absent from conventional sampling.

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‘FreshFry Pods’: Plant-based cooking oil filtering solutions launches in Canada, other international markets to follow

FreshFry, the makers of plant-powered pods that extend the life of cooking oil, announces today the expansion of its signature ‘FreshFry Pods’ to international markets. FreshFry Pods generates savings to restaurant owners in a multitude of areas including less overall oil usage, reduced build-up of oil in and around fryers, and lower labor costs for maintenance and disposal of oil.

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PepsiCo says its new Green Bond can be used for regenerative agriculture practices across its supply chain

PepsiCo announced today the closing of a new $1.25 billion 10-year Green Bond. The Company says it will use an amount equivalent to the net proceeds from the offering to fund Eligible Green Projects which will focus on its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) agenda. It will focus on investments to deliver key environmental sustainability initiatives under two pillars of its pep+ agenda: Positive Agriculture and Positive Value Chain.

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PepsiCo’s new ESG Summary offers first look at progress toward the company’s ‘positive goals’

PepsiCo this week published its first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Summary since the launch of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), a strategic end-to-end business transformation with sustainability and human capital at the center of how the company will create growth and value. The 2021 ESG Summary details initial progress and real-world examples across three pillars – Positive Agriculture, Positive Value Chain and Positive Choices.

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Supplemental calcium application to mitigate heat stress: The importance of root zone calcium levels

Dr Jiwan Palta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, is a recognized world expert on calcium nutrition. Jiwan has made important contributions to clarify the role of calcium in potato production. Over the years, he has given 4 outstanding presentations at the Ontario Potato Conference. In this article, Dr Eugenia Banks at the Ontario Potato Board makes a short summary of some of these.

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Biotech Opinion: ‘Trust, Critical Thinking, and Potatoes’

This op-ed article is by Dave Douches (PhD), professor and Director of the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program and Director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Graduate Program at Michigan State University, and Project Director of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. “As a scientist working in potato breeding for over 40 years, one may wonder why I am talking about trust and critical thinking.”

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Platform: ‘How the humble potato is already helping end world hunger’

“Consumed by more than a billion people worldwide, including many of the world’s poorest, potato has long been one of the most important crops to avert hunger,” Senior Scientist at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Kenya, Monica Parker, said prior to the 11th World Potato Congress convened in Dublin last month. In an article published by Irish Examiner, Parker says that with vulnerable smallholder farmers undertaking around a third of global production, potato provides a crucial stopgap.

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The GRIMME Group: ‘Forging ahead on the road to continued success’

In 2021, the GRIMME Group based in Damme in Germany built upon the good year of 2020, despite the Corona pandemic, the shortage of skilled workers and the impact of Brexit. The company says in a press release that its turnover has increased by 9.43% from €509.1 million to €557.1 million in 2021. All manufacturing companies within the Group – GRIMME, SPUDNIK, ASA-LIFT, INTERNORM and RICON – increased their overall turnover.

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FAO Director-General: ‘Doubling global potato production in 10 years is possible’

Potatoes could contribute even more to world history and global food security, and total production of the food crop could double in the next 10 years, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said in his keynote presentation to the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC), which was convened in Dublin at the end of May.

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To all Spud Dads…

Happy Fathers Day to all Spud Dads out there! I received a copy of a delightful little piece sent to a good friend of mine by his kids, and I translated it into English. I hope you enjoy it as well? It is titled “My Dad is an Iron Man”…

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Potato emergence problems: Checklist of common factors that reduce seed emergence

At times, potato growers may experience poor emergence of potato plants. There are number of reasons why potato plants may not emerge properly. Potato specialists Andy Robinson, Eugenia Banks and Steven B. Johnson have compiled a list of common problems that can cause poor potato emergence and stand. Utilizing this list can help growers more rapidly identify the cause and improve management of the crop and subsequent crops.

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World Environment Day, June 5: Earth ‘cannot keep up with our demands’, says UN chief

“This planet is our only home”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for World Environment Day, marked this Sunday, warning that the Earth’s natural systems “cannot keep up with our demands”. “It is vital we safeguard the health of its atmosphere, the richness and diversity of life on Earth, its ecosystems and its finite resources.  But we are failing to do so,” said the UN chief.

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World Potato Congress Inc. launches the Declaration of Dublin to advance UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 through the potato

On the last day of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) in Dublin, Ireland, WPC President Romain Cools, called in the WPC Declaration of Dublin upon the global potato value chain to invest in ‘potato solutions’ to advance the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. In his opening address, the WPC President concluded that local food production in general and potatoes more specifically must be intensified to assure food security and reduce dependency from international trade.

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HarvestEye to showcase innovative technology tool at World Potato Congress event

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is heading to the World Potato Congress at the end of May, as it continues to showcase on the global agricultural stage the actionable insights it places in the hands of growers. It comprises of a patented technology that provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over a whole field.

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World Bank: Fertilizer prices expected to remain higher for longer

In the third in a series of 11 blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the April 2022 edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook, John Baffes and Wee Chian write that fertilizer prices have risen nearly 30% since the start of 2022, following last year’s 80% surge. Urea prices are expected to remain at historically high levels for as long as natural gas and coal prices remain elevated.

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