Asia, India, China, Russia

Scientists found dried potato powder to be cheaper energy source in animal feed than maize

Scientists at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in Pakistan have found that dried potato powder can successfully be used as a cheaper energy source in animal feed and can be added up to 30 percent in ruminant concentrates without any negative effect. Due to the high cost of yellow corn, dried potato concentrate had been identified as a low cost alternative and it can easily replace maize.

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South Korean company EGG Microtubers received PotatoEurope’s Golden Innovation Award

During a special award ceremony on Wednesday September 1st, a professional jury awarded the PotatoEurope Gold Innovation Award to the Microtubers of E Green Global (EGG). Based on three criteria, namely innovativeness, potential impact in the potato market and applicability in the potato sector, the jury came to the decision to declare EGG Microtubers as the winner of the Golden Innovation Award.

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Study: Dietary shift to potatoes could cut staple crop emissions in China by 25%

A dietary shift from rice to potatoes could ‘notably reduce’ the climate and environmental impacts of staple crop agriculture in China, according to a new study. It finds that a large-scale dietary shift towards potatoes, combined with better growing methods, could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of these staples by up to 25 per cent. However, the authors note that it remains to be seen whether such a major dietary shift can be carried out on a large scale.

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AsiaBlight Network gathered at the 23rd Chinese Potato Conference

Five years ago, a group of farmers, scientists, and government officials formed the AsiaBlight network to develop an integrated approach to managing, and eventually eradicate, late blight disease with an aim to improve nutrition and food security for billions throughout Asia. Recently the network convened a side event at the 23rd Chinese Potato Conference, held in Yulin City to discuss progress made in the past year.

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‘Red Candy’: Technico’s early maturing red skinned table potato variety

In India, in North Bengal and in the Bihar regions, potato farmers have long awaited an early bulking potato variety with better storability to cater for evolving grower needs. Until now, the absence of such a variety with this unique combination of characteristics has left farmers either to miss the early market opportunity to reap better prices or book higher losses during storage. Red Candy, a new variety launched by Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, aptly addresses the potato growers’ needs and help them to reap the twin benefits of early bulking with better storability.

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CropX acquired Dutch-based Dacom Farm Intelligence

CropX, the Israel-based company that produced the world’s first and do-it-yourself (“DIY”) farm management platform based on real-time soil data, announced recently that it acquired Dacom, headquartered in Groningen, the Netherlands. CropX says in a news release that this follows its acquisitions in 2020 of Nebraska based CropMetrics and New-Zealand based ReGen. CropX says: “We’re always excited to join new teams and technologies to the CropX family and continue our search in that respect – all with the goal of providing the best value for our customers.”

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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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Martin Lishman brings quality control to a 1000-year-old potato store in Turkey

For mass importer and producer of seed potatoes, AR Tarim based in Turkey, the need for stringent quality control became a significant factor in helping them meet their goals. Up to 8000 tons of seed potatoes are imported and around 11,000 tons are locally produced by the company and stored in their 1000-year-old cave storage facility located in Kayseri. The company approached UK crop quality and storage specialists Martin Lishman Ltd for storage solutions.

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Potato Corner to launch digital micro-series to drive consumer engagement

What can possibly happen in 10 seconds? For Filipinos hooked to their mobile phones for more than 10 hours a day every day, 10 seconds is a lot. A new advertising concept will even shake things up in online consumer engagement as Potato Corner, the beloved “flavored fries,” brings its playful and fun flavors in a pioneering, never-before-seen storytelling adventure.

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And now you can chomp on ‘5050 Potazos’ – half potato chip, have biscuit…

India’s Britannia 50-50 has launched the ‘5050 Potazos’. It is billed as a ‘fusion’ product that brings together potato chip and biscuit. The brand undertook a nationwide consumer survey in the run up to the launch, and the product was rated by consumers as the ‘best new product’ in the snacking space, with 90 per cent of consumers giving it a ‘definitely buy’ rating.

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‘Small is beautiful’: Technico offers wide range of TechniTuber® potato varieties world wide

The Technico Group of Companies announced today that it is in the process of upgrading and commercialising its award winning TECHNITUBER Seed Potato Technology for suitable application across various geographic regions in the world. According to CEO Dr. Soundar Soundararadjane, “The TECHNITUBER® seed size of approximately 13mm, weighing a mere 1.5 grams, is viable enough to be planted at only approximately 100 kg per hectare. TECHNITUBER seeds are delivered pre-sprouted in ‘field ready’ conditions and are easily transported.

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India’s WayCool Foods to invest in SV Agri to boost supply of potato seed, storage and processing facilities

WayCool Foods, a fast growing agri-commerce company in India, announced this week that they will be investing USD 5 million into Siddhi Vinayak Agri Processing Pvt. Ltd (SV Agri), one of India’s fully integrated players in the potato supply chain. The investment will allow both WayCool and SV Agri to leverage their strong supply chain eco-systems and boost the quality and supply of potato seed, storage and processing facilities across India.

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Indian scientists developed smartphone app to help potato farmers detect late blight disease

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have developed a smartphone app for automated disease detection in potato crops using photographs of its leaves. “Automated disease detection can help in this regard and given the extensive proliferation of the mobile phones across the country, the smartphone could be a useful tool for potato farmers in this regard,” said Mr. Joe Johnson, Research Scholar, IIT Mandi.

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Chinese scientists make breakthrough in potato breeding

A research team led by Professor Huang Sanwen with the Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen initiated the “Upotato Plan”, which utilized the theory and methods of genome design to carry out hybrid potato breeding, ‘re-inventing’ the potato from a clonally propagated tetraploid crop into an inbred line-based diploid crop, propagated by seeds.

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The ‘touchy-feely’ potato: Researchers developed bio-sensor to detect early signs of plant stress

In an effort to increase agricultural productivity and limit waste, a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment developed a method to detect signs of stress before potato plants are damaged. By employing genetic engineering, the team introduced a new gene coded to a fluorescent protein that reports the level of reactive ‘oxygen specieses’ – highly reactive molecules whose accumulation signifies stress responses.

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Pakistani research facility produces disease free nuclear potato seed to boost production, self sufficiency

The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council has produced 150,000 nuclear potato tubers, which would help in producing over 50,000 tones of certified seed to help with boosting yields and the availability of disease free potato seed in the country. This milestone was achieved after the commercialization of potato tissue culture technology. The seed will now be provided to the private sector and individual growers to multiply the seed on their own for commercial production.

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USAID and CIP open potato seed model farm in the Republic of Georgia

Dignitaries, researchers, and private sector representatives gathered this week in southwestern Georgia to celebrate the opening of potato seed model farm that will provide ideas, training and high-quality seed to potato farmers throughout the country. The seed model farm is one part of the USAID Potato Program in Georgia, a multi-faceted intervention to improve potato seed systems in the country. The International Potato Center (CIP) is leading the initiative.

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HZPC: Serving the Russian seed potato market via an alternative route

In Russia, HZPC is using an unconventional strategy to secure its seed potato trade with the country for the future: In 2019, a small breeding company was set up to provide Russian contract growers with pre-basis seed potatoes. In 2020, the production of mini-tubers was added too. These choices were made due to Russia’s aim to be entirely self-supporting within its borders and completely shut out the import of seed potatoes in due course.

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‘Plant-speak’: Scientists developed device to ‘communicate’ with plants

A team of scientists led by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a device that can deliver electrical signals to and from plants, opening the door to new technologies that make use of plants. The NTU team developed their plant ‘communication’ device by attaching a conformable electrode (a piece of conductive material) on the surface of a Venus flytrap plant using a soft and sticky adhesive known as hydrogel. The NTU team is looking to devise other applications using an improved version of their plant ‘communication’ device.

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Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership: Annual report released

The Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is a five-year, $5.9 million multi-institution cooperative agreement between MSU, USAID, Simplot Company and other global institutions to develop and bring to market improved potato products in farmer- and consumer-preferred varieties in Asian countries. BPP offers biotech potato products with broad-spectrum resistance to late blight. The BPP annual report for FY 2020 is now available.

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Lamb Weston to build new potato processing plant in China

Lamb Weston has announced an expansion of french fry processing capacity in China. “The french fry category is poised for growth globally, and China continues to be a critical market for us,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston. “This investment of in-country production for the China market is a clear example of our commitment to our strategic customers and supporting their growth plans well into the future.”

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Pakistan aims to become self-sufficient in high quality potato seed production

Pakistan is poised to become self-sufficient in the production of high quality potato seed by mid-2022. The country is said to start producing high-quality, virus-free, third-generation potato seed with the help of aeroponic technology imported from South Korea. The move will reduce the import bill for potato seed, which is $400 million per annum. Aeroponics is a soilless method for producing high quality seed in a greenhouse.

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Researchers review the spread of late blight across Asia over a century and a half

Researchers Sanjoy Guha Roy, Tanmoy Dey, David E. L. Cooke and Louise R. Cooke recently published this review in the journal Plant Pathology. In a news article for the The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) the research team writes they have scoured the literature to report on the dynamics of Phytophthora infestans (1870-2020) that has shadowed the expansion of potato cropping.

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