Across Regions

The digital eye in potato breeding: How machine vision is shaping the future of spuds

A team of U.S. scientists published an innovative cost-effective phenotyping strategy to improve potato breeding in the Plant Phenome Journal. This scalable, machine vision technology assesses size, shape, and color of potatoes with high precision, streamlining the breeding process. This AI-driven method, also capable of detecting defects and inferring weight, offers a new approach to selecting and cultivating superior potato varieties, significantly advancing the field.

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Celebrating the humble spud: World Potato Congress and FAO to launch the first International Day of the Potato

The World Potato Congress, with FAO’s support, inaugurated International Day of the Potato on May 30th to celebrate this crucial food source. Recognizing the potato’s role in feeding billions, the UN declared the day officially. The 2024 event theme “Harvesting Diversity – Feeding Hope” emphasizes its importance in fighting hunger and urges global engagement through education and a social media hashtag campaign.

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Record-breaking heat: February 2024 declared hottest on record

February 2024 set a chilling record as the warmest February in history. Continuing a nine-month streak, temperatures were 1.77°C above the pre-industrial average and 0.81°C higher than recent decades’ norm. Record ocean warmth exacerbates the crisis, with the potential for more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and disrupted ecosystems. Scientists stress the severe, costly consequences of denying and delaying action on human-driven climate change.

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Celebrating women in the potato industry: The inspirational stories of New Zealand’s Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay

On International Women’s Day on March 8, we honor Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay for their leadership in New Zealand’s potato industry. Pye excels in multifaceted roles, including directorships and council positions, prioritizing inclusivity and diversity. McKay, co-owner of Alps Seeds Ltd, innovates in seed potato production. Both faced challenges but persevere, inspiring women to engage in agriculture’s diverse opportunities. Their stories embody the empowerment of women and their critical influence in shaping the future of the global potato industry.

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A-INSIGHTS hosts exclusive webinar: Exploring ‘Trends of the Frozen Potato Industry’

A-INSIGHTS announces a free webinar on March 28th, focusing on the frozen potato industry’s trends and forecasts. Analyst Mathieu Geuskens will explore 2023 supply-demand, 5-year projections, local initiatives’ effects, and sustainability practices. The online event aims to transform public data into growth opportunities for food businesses. Register to learn from A-INSIGHTS, a firm with over 15 years of sector experience.

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GRIMME’s 2024 lineup: Upgraded receiving hoppers that maximize efficiency and crop protection

GRIMME introduces their updated RH series hoppers for 2024, featuring advancements in capacity, crop protection, and convenience. The improved design allows variable hopper floor speed, better handling, and innovative protection features like “Capacity Control” and “Remain Control”. Enhanced soil cleaning functions and user-friendly operation are facilitated by the IBX 300 ISOBUS unit. The range includes the high-throughput RH 28 and the versatile RH 24 XT for potatoes.

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James Hutton Institute spearheads global food security with new National Potato Innovation Centre

The James Hutton Institute plans to establish the National Potato Innovation Centre to bolster food security, focusing on potatoes’ role in global strategies. The NPIC will utilize a new glasshouse complex to breed potato varieties suited to warmer, sustainable environments. With a reputation in potato science and a history of R&D success, the institute’s facility, housing the Commonwealth Potato Collection, aims to promote drought tolerance and disease resistance in potatoes, thereby future-proofing the UK industry.

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Pulsemaster’s groundbreaking innovations in PEF technology set to shine at Anuga FoodTec 2024

Pulsemaster will showcase its latest pulsed electric field (PEF) technology at Anuga FoodTec 2024 from March 19-22 in Cologne, Germany. Managing Director Mark de Boevere will present their new PEF-system for big raw-peeled potatoes, vital for french fries and potato chip quality enhancement. With a focus on the booming healthy snacks market, they’re also developing PEF for dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Pulsemaster’s innovation aligns with clean food trends and has garnered international interest.

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Navigating water scarcity: The promise of drip irrigation for sustainable potato farming

The CHIPS Nov-Dec 2023 issue features an article by Lukie Pieterse on using drip irrigation in water-scarce potato farming. Highlighting the technique’s efficiency in water and nutrient delivery, it offers potential for higher yields and quality produce. Despite higher initial costs, long-term benefits include savings and better production. Challenges like system clogging and soil salinity are noted. The article advocates for farmer education, government support, and technological advances to optimize drip irrigation for potato production.

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Empowering international delegates: World Potato Congress 2024 offers support for attendees from Asia, South America, and Africa

The World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) is dedicated to supporting FAO Sustainability Goals through its “Declaration of Dublin,” enhancing global potato industry collaboration. To facilitate this, the WPC, with its partners, is sponsoring 20 delegates from diverse regions to attend its Congress in Australia, offering financial support for attendance, lodging, and travel. This initiative underlines the WPC’s commitment to creating a global platform for sustainable agricultural progress and food security.

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‘Preventing the next plant plague’: Jean Ristaino’s groundbreaking research in the fight against potato blight

Plant pathologist Jean Ristaino from NC State University is spearheading research to combat plant diseases such as late blight in potatoes and tomatoes. She is developing a rapid detection system to manage plant diseases efficiently and mapping the Phytophthora ‘tree of life’ to understand disease evolution. Her international collaboration and upcoming book “The Potato Plague” emphasize the global effort needed to secure food supplies amid climate change and population growth.

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‘Tiny titans of the farm’: Nanotechnology poised to revolutionize agriculture, but cautious steps needed

Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Central University of Kerala anticipate nanotechnology will significantly advance agriculture, as detailed in their review published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Research. Nanotech approaches, like nano-fertilizers, biosensors, and enhanced seeds, aim to improve yields, reduce environmental impact, and combat food insecurity due to climate change and population growth. However, challenges such as potential nanoparticle toxicity, ethical issues related to accessibility, and ecological effects must be addressed responsibly.

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Global spotlight on potatoes: May 30 to celebrate the first International Day of Potato

The FAO will commemorate the first International Day of Potato on May 30, 2024, an initiative led by Peru. Recognizing the potato as the world’s third most consumed crop, the event highlights its importance in global food security and nutrition. While production has risen 10% in the last decade, there remains untapped potential for poverty and hunger reduction. FAO will launch awareness campaigns and encourage sustainable practices among stakeholders and native communities.

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Tracing potato blight’s origins: A text analytics journey from America to Ireland

Researchers at North Carolina State University analyzed historical and modern writings to understand the spread and impact of Phytophthora infestans, the pathogen behind the Irish potato famine and current issues in potatoes and tomatoes. By digitizing documents from 1843 to 1845, they traced the pathogen’s travel in the U.S. before hitting Ireland.

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The dawn of nano-agriculture: How nanotechnology is shaping sustainable farming

A study in Agronomy journal details how nanotechnology, dubbed ‘nanofarming’, can transform agriculture, addressing issues like soil degradation and crop protection. The review discusses nanofertilizers, nanopesticides, and nano-enhanced soil, emphasizing the need to balance the benefits with potential risks like nanopollution. It aligns nanofarming with sustainability goals and advocates for further research to optimize its use, highlighting its role in achieving food security amidst environmental challenges.

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The future of farming: Exploring the realities of regenerative agricultural practices

In “Regenerative Agriculture – Hype or Hope?” by Professor Mario Caccamo, the potential of regenerative farming to improve environmental outcomes is highlighted. Despite its increasing popularity, concerns about its economic feasibility and preliminary lower yields challenge its wider adoption. Integrating precision agriculture, NIAB research under Caccamo advocates for evidence-based practices to realize regenerative agriculture’s promise for sustainable food production amid climate change.

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The hidden factor in potato freshness: Magnesium’s key role in reducing storage loss

A study by researchers from Stellenbosch University, financed by Potatoes South Africa, and published in the South African magazine CHIPS, finds that low magnesium levels in potato tubers cause significant moisture loss during storage, especially in sandy soils of the Sandveld and Koue Bokkeveld regions. The research reveals that maintaining a proper magnesium balance is crucial for potato post-harvest quality and provides insight for growers on effective storage and marketing strategies.

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TOMRA Food revolutionizes food processing with AI-driven solutions and new organizational structure

TOMRA Food announced an agile new structure and three AI-powered sorting and grading solutions at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. With an increased focus on customer proximity and innovation, the reorganized company combines its processed and fresh food sectors into unified regional teams (EMEA, Americas, APAC), supported by a central hub for R&D and operations. The new AI technologies promise unparalleled accuracy in grading, aiming to boost productivity and minimize waste.

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Excellence in media: Alarcón & Harris achieves top honors in Media Innovator Awards

Alarcón & Harris (A&H) won the Best B2B Content & Project Management Services Provider award at the Media Innovator Awards 2023. Their CEO, Nuria Martí, attributes the agency’s distinction to a unique ‘Glocalization’ strategy—merging global PR activities with local insights. The agency’s expertise in technical information, international media knowledge, and multilingual content production has significantly enhanced their clients’ global presence. Among their prominent clients is TOMRA Food, demonstrating the agency’s broad sector influence.

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Regenerative agriculture and beyond: McCain Foods’ journey to sustainable farming outlined in latest Global Sustainability Report

McCain Foods has announced considerable advancement toward its sustainability goals, with 51% of its global potato acreage now within its Regenerative Agriculture Framework. Its 2023 Global Sustainability Report highlights innovations and efficiencies in farming practices, renewable energy use, and water conservation. McCain is working closely with 3,500 farmers globally, furthering sustainable practices through education and financial support.

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HarvestEye’s groundbreaking insights tool with expanded crop compatibility to be unveiled at Fruit Logistica 2024

HarvestEye will exhibit its crop insights tool at Fruit Logistica, offering the fresh produce sector a method to assess crops’ size and variety via its updated system compatible with onions and potatoes. The technology includes a new handheld device for pre-harvest analysis. Growers can lease or rent units, gaining actionable AI insights to enhance supply chain efficiency and reduce waste.

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Leading the charge: Ms. Robbie Davis announced as Ambassador for the 2024 World Potato Congress

Potatoes Australia Ltd. has named Ms. Robbie Davis as the official Ambassador for the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide, 2024. Ms. Davis, with her extensive industry background, including a previous CEO role and board directorships, will leverage her expertise to promote the event. Her responsibilities include advocacy, industry engagement, and media relations. Her aim is to foster unity and innovation within the international potato community at the Congress.

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The evolving landscape of the global potato industry: Trends, challenges and innovations in 2023

The potato industry in 2023 has been a landscape of innovation and adaptation as stakeholders across the globe respond to a wide array of trends and pressures. From the encroaching effects of climate change to technological advancements sweeping through the fields and supply chains, the industry has been shaped by the interplay of environmental, technological, and market dynamics. Potato News Today explores some of these factors in a comprehensive article based on news reports published in 2023.

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‘Perceptions and emotions’: How consumers in the U.S. and Switzerland view New Genomic Techniques in agriculture

Scientists from ETH Zurich, Arizona State University and the University of Oregon studied U.S. and Swiss attitudes toward agricultural New Genomic Techniques (NGTs). Approximately 50% of survey participants viewed NGTs like blight-resistant potatoes and gluten-free wheat positively; emotional response influenced acceptance, with Swiss showing more skepticism due to stricter regulations. Preferences for organic food did not correlate with NGT acceptance, suggesting the need for the organic sector to reassess consumer expectations in the face of new technologies.

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World Potato Congress Inc. calls for nominations for prestigious Industry Awards

Dr. Peter VanderZaag of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) has announced the opening of nominations for the 2024 Industry Awards, recognizing lifetime achievements in the potato sector. Nominations require a 250-word justification and contact details, submitted by March 27, 2024, to the WPC Executive Director. Nomination submissions is set for the close of business on March 27, 2024. Recipients will be announced at the upcoming World Potato Congress in Australia in June 2024.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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