The local potato industry has assured South Africans that it would be able to meet local demand for French fries after heavy “anti-dumping” duties were imposed by the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) in July last year on Belgium, German and Dutch suppliers. Potatoes SA acting marketing manager, Jaco Koekemoer, said the country has a sufficient supply of fresh potatoes, with forecasts looking promising over the next 12 months.
Even as South Africa’s potato industry feels the weight of adverse production conditions, high input costs and rolling blackouts, producers have reason for optimism, reports Glenneis Kriel in a news article for Farmers Weekly. The local potato sector aims to increase annual production from about 2,6 million tons to 3,2 million tons over the next five years, according to Dirk Uys, research and innovation manager at Potatoes South Africa.
South Africa’s potato farmers are ending the year off under immense pressure. And although industry players are optimistic about the industry’s future, it will be years before the industry recovers and farms return to previous levels of profitability, as Duncan Masiwa reports for Food For Mzansi. As it stands, potato farmers in the country are not turning in profits.
For almost 50 years, the International Potato Center’s (CIP) research and development work in potato and sweetpotato agri-food systems has contributed to greater food and nutrition security, and economic growth, while conserving today’s biodiversity for the future. This video brings together some of the most achievements and impacts for millions of small-scale farmers and resource-poor consumers worldwide.
Potatoes SA recently announced its research priorities for 2023. The industry body says in a news post on its website that the main intention of its research initiatives is to support potato growers in South Africa in optimising their production efficiency. The organization says it further intends to foster “a better understanding of the local potato market, as well as exploring future opportunities in creating consumer demand for potatoes in the country.”
The general manager of Merlog Foods, told Farmer’s Weekly that the price of frozen French fries had almost doubled over the past year in South Africa due to the introduction of import tariffs, which, according to him, created a shortage of French fries on the market. However, Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes SA, stressed that the import tariffs, which amounted to 23% for Belgium, 104% for the Netherlands and 181% for German suppliers, were necessary to protect the local industry against “dumping” and did not affect food security in South Africa.
TOMRA Food has appointed Christian Tougaard to Regional Sales Director EMEA for TOMRA Processed Food, part of TOMRA Food. Christian’s appointment follows the reorganization earlier this year of TOMRA Food into two business areas, TOMRA Processed Food and TOMRA Fresh Food. Christian said: “I was attracted to TOMRA Food by its leadership in innovative optical and peeling sorting solutions, the people I’ve met at the company, and the focus on sustainability.”
PepsiCo is investing $40 million in Ethiopian subsidiary Senselet, which produces the potato chip brand SUN Chips. The investment will fund the construction of an additional potato chip production line and a new snack production line inside the brand’s existing facilities, as Gloria Cowdin reports for Baking Business.
South African seed potato producer RegenZ and European hybrid potato seed innovator Solynta announced today a partnership to bring hybrid true potatoes to the South African farming community. The companies will collaborate in further trials and join forces to facilitate the introduction of Solynta’s ‘climate smart’ and disease-free genetics to the South African farmer.
Ethiopia has given the green light to carry out field trials with genetically modified potatoes that are said to be resistant to blight, a move seen as a further sign of the country’s growing embrace of genetic modification technology, according to a report by Ethiopia Observer. The potato has become the third consumable GMO product to be authorized in Ethiopia for commercial production.
Some shops are overpricing potatoes while consumers are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the view of Potatoes South Africa (‘Potato Nation’) after it found a store where potatoes are sold at a heavily inflated price. The industry body is now launching a consumer awareness campaign, encouraging customers to shop around for appropriately priced potatoes.
A community project that provides farmers with healthy potato seeds, cultivated using innovative laboratory techniques is significantly increasing yields in Kenya, an agricultural expert says. Kenya’s average potato yield per hectare is around ten tonnes but has the potential to increase to three times that amount with the use of disease-free seed, according to Anthony Kibe, principal investigator of a potato community action research project.
In Tanzania, The Netherlands has been an important stakeholder in promoting and developing the production and use of the potato crop, as Jafari Juma reports for the Citizen. The Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Tanzania, Wiebe de Boer, says with the availability of improved Dutch potato seed varieties, farmers have an opportunity to increase efficiency in farming which will trigger more investments and trade within and across the sector, creating an immediate and long-term impact on income generation.
AgroScout is proud to announce its partnership with AECI through AECI Plant Health. AgroScout solutions aim to give farmers the means to improve crop yields and optimize their use of inputs more sustainably. AECI Plant Health has tested the Agroscout technology on South Africa’s West Coast since the beginning of 2022, and the company is happy to accelerate its operation with AECI Plant Health as partners in all of South Africa.
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.
“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.
The Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership is a five-year project managed by Michigan State University that focuses on the commercialization of late blight disease resistant potatoes in farmer-preferred varieties in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, and Nigeria. The Partnership is pleased to announce members of the project’s technical advisory board (TAB).
McCain announces new ‘Farm of the Future’ in South Africa at critical moment for the global food system
McCain Foods Limited has unveiled plans for a second ‘Farms of the Future’ in South Africa, as part of its drive to cut carbon emissions and tackle the impacts of climate change. At Farm of the Future Africa, the potential to grow multiple crops per year, innovate with irrigation technology in a water-scarce region as well as the challenges arising from the presence of soil-borne pests and diseases make it the ideal location for transferring learning to other parts of the world
Agrico Potato Services Africa (PSA), producer of Kenyan certified seed potatoes, is proud to communicate another impressive milestone reached. The popularity of their Facebook page continue to grow rapidly in popularity, and the company says over 50,000 Kenyan potato farmers are now digitally connecting with Agrico PSA online via their Facebook page.
Potato is an important food and nutritional security crop in sub-Saharan Africa. However, a quick look reveals a glaring challenge faced by farmers across the continent: limited access to quality seed potato. The situation is no different in Cameroon. But recent success in Kenya – supported by the International Potato Center (CIP) – holds great promise for Cameroon and other SSA countries.
Potato production in East Africa is under increasing threat from the invasive and highly destructive potato cyst nematode (PCN) Globodera rostochiensis. Researchers have now developed an organic technology from banana plant waste material which might well being a practical solution for potato farmers. Dubbed ‘wrap-and-plant,’ the solution involves enclosing potato seed before planting in a thick absorbent paper made from the fibers of banana plants.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Feed the Future Initiative has awarded a five-year, $13 million award for a collaborative partnership led by Michigan State University (MSU). The Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership will bring late blight disease resistant (LBR) potatoes in farmer-preferred varieties to the Asian countries of Bangladesh and Indonesia, and the African countries of Kenya and Nigeria.
According to a survey of potato experts in 10 sub-Saharan African countries in 2018, the most serious threat to the region’s potato crop is bacterial wilt disease. Caused by the soil- and seed-borne bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum – a high-risk, quarantine pathogen in Europe and the Mediterranean – bacterial wilt is responsible for an estimated USD 1 billion of economic loss globally each year.
A valuable cargo of premium Scottish seed potatoes has reportedly been turned back from Egypt, at a cost traders estimate to be in the region of £1.5 million. It is understood 1,500 tonnes of Hermes seed potatoes from five or six suppliers is currently in limbo in Alexandria, after the load was rejected by Egyptian authorities because it failed to meet a December export deadline by one day.
The NThe National Potato Council and KFC in Kenya have identified the Markies potato variety that farmers in that country can now grow to supply the US-based fast-food chain with locally sourced French fries. The National Potato Council said KFC agreed in a meeting last week to have local farmers plant the Markies variety to cut overreliance on imports.
Increasingly, the economic hardship in Algeria is being measured by the shortage of a staple product that is a key ingredient in such national dishes as tagine or chtitha batata: the potato. Indeed, the price of potatoes has almost tripled on the Algerian market in just a few months, becoming a symbol of the nation’s deteriorating economic situation, stirring up anger within modest households and igniting the risk of street protests.
As Miriam Berger reports in an article for The Washington Post, a number of popular items, including marmite and cream cheese, have faced scarcities amid supply chain disruptions wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and extreme weather. Potatoes are the latest to join the list, becoming unevenly available in some countries and fast-food chains because of a confluence of factors.