Asia, India, China, Russia, Middle East

PepsiCo: Why there is an ongoing legal battle over the potatoes used to make Lay’s chips in India

Farmers’ rights activists say the PepsiCo India court case over its registration of a potato variety used to make its Lay’s potato chips, shows how companies which have registered plant varieties use coercive tactics against farmers to protect their interests. An ongoing court case between PepsiCo India and the petitioner, farmers’ rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti, has highlighted the tensions between plant-breeding corporations and farmers’ rights defenders in developing countries.

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China’s Snow Valley Agriculture opens third French fry line, installs second Elea PEF system

Snow Valley Agriculture is one of the largest food and potato processing companies in China, with potato seed production at the core of its operation, also including the delivery of modern agricultural extension services. The company recently celebrated the opening of its third French fry processing line during a grand ceremony. The PEF unit that Elea supplied for cutting improvement, reduced oil uptake and enhanced product quality, has been the second Elea PEF system supplied to Snow Valley.

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A sensor that can ‘smell’: Researchers developed new biological sensor to detect soft rot in potato tubers

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel’s Volcani Institute successfully developed a biological sensor for early detection of hidden disease in potato tubers. The sensor relies on smart bioengineering and optics. When the sensor is exposed to an infected potato, a bacterial compound within lights up—with the strength of the luminescence indicating the concentration and composition of potato tuber soft rot.

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CIP, USAID execute gender-responsive program to promote, expand potato sector in the Republic of Georgia

Potato is a mainstay of the diet of many people in the Republic of Georgia, but farmers have trouble meeting demand due to average yields of only 12 tons per hectare. To address this dilemma, the International Potato Center (CIP) has partnered with USAID, farmers, the private sector, the Georgian government and civil society organizations, to execute the Georgia Potato Program. It uses a gender-responsive, socially-inclusive approach to promote innovations and improved agronomic practices to expand Georgia’s potato sector.

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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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PepsiCo India adds gourmet chips to Lay’s portfolio

Food and beverage company PepsiCo India has launched its premium potato chips brand Lay’s Gourmet in India to tap into the growing market for premium snacks in the country, according to a news story published by the website Mint. Consumers in India have been moving up to better, more premium products as affluent households grow in size. In the top metros too such households are driving demand for more niche food and beverage brands.

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McCain Foods sells Russian potato plant, completing its exit from the country

Canadian french fry giant McCain Foods Ltd. has sold its Russian potato production facility, completing the company’s exit from Russia. This latest corporate exit from Russia was part of a large exodus driven by both moral concerns of Russian aggression and punishing international sanctions that severely restricted the travel of goods, people and capital in and out of the country.

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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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Vanmark’s facility in India ships first three peeler machines to customer in East Asia

Vanmark, an industrial potato and produce processing equipment manufacturer, announced earlier today that its location in Bengaluru, India, has shipped its first three peeler machines to a large customer based in China. The three peeler/scrubber/washer 2020 models, Vanmark’s best-selling models in the U.S., were fully built at the Indian facility. The machines include a new bent sheet metal frame which is more hygienic with an open frame design.

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Japan’s top potato chip maker Calbee to raise prices up to 20%

Calbee Inc., Japan’s answer to Frito-Lay with an enormous product line-up ranging from pizza-flavored potato chips to low-carb granola, is raising prices again as companies struggle to absorb costs that are climbing at the fastest clip in years. As Lily Nonomiya reports for Bloomberg News, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Wednesday it will raise the prices of snacks and cereals in Japan by 5% to 20% from September.

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Partnership on track to give Bangladeshi and Indonesian farmers blight-resistant GMO potatoes

Researchers will be testing genetically modified potatoes in Bangladesh and Indonesia this year in hopes of providing farmers with an alternative to spraying fungicides. Multiple confined field trials of GM late blight-resistant (LBR) potatoes will be conducted in both countries under a Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. Late blight disease is a serious problem in both countries, destroying 25 to 57 percent of the crop.

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Technical advisory board named to support Global Biotech Potato Partnership

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).

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Elea breaking into Chinese snack and chips market with new PEF system

Liwayway Marketing Corporation, with its brand Oishi and more than 100 product varieties, is one of the leading snack companies in Asia. From its humble beginnings of “gawgaw” and coffee 70 years ago, it has taken on bigger and more exciting adventures. In 2021, a first Elea PEF Advantage B1 system has been installed in Liwayway´s potato chips line in close cooperation with Elea’s regional partner for China Beijing Lenno Trade Co., Ltd.

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McCain Foods India releases second edition of Sustainability Report

McCain Foods has launched the second edition of the India Sustainability Report 2021 – titled ‘Together-Towards Planet-Friendly Food’ earlier this week, highlighting the steps taken by the company towards delivering planet-friendly food, encouraging the use of sustainable practices and helping communities thrive with a sustainable livelihood.

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PepsiCo to add new line to Lay’s plant, expanding its largest food plant in India

PepsiCo India today announced expansion plans for its largest greenfield foods manufacturing plant that produces the popular LAY’S potato chips in Kosi Kalan, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. As part of its expansion plan, PepsiCo India will increase the capacity of the state-of-the-art foods plant, by setting-up a new manufacturing line which will produce one of world’s leading nacho chip brand Doritos. 

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What next? Potatoes and other crops “grown” on top of cement floors and basketball courts in China

Several video clips showing many areas across China where potatoes and other crops are “grown” on cement floors or even on basketball courts, have been making the rounds on the Internet lately. It turns out that these are indeed false crops, and artificially constructed fields. Reportedly, some local authorities have recently constructed these false “fields” as a pretense to secure that their local farmland acreage match up to acquired quotes as stipulated by China’s regulations on cultivated farmland.

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Public-private potato breeding partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes

The International Potato Center (CIP), the globally active Dutch seed potato company HZPC, and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) recently announced the launch of a second, five-year phase of their partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes for tropical and subtropical conditions. CIP and HZPC will combine their experience, resources and germplasm to breed and select potato varieties suitable for farmers in tropical and subtropical Asia.

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‘Arch Chips’: First and all-women managed potato chips company established in India’s Uttar Pradesh state

The company ‘Arch Chips’ in the Shikohabad area is not a typical business firm. It has 10 directors and 650 shareholders – all of them women and members of a self help group (SHG) with none having business experience and only a handful whom have studied beyond school. The SHG members contributed Rs 3,000 (about US$38) each while the 10 directors additionally took a loan from a bank to set up the factory in April last year.

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Elite Agro’s UAE-grown potatoes, now back in season

Elite Agro (EAG) is a leading UAE producer and distributor of fresh produce. Potatoes are in season at EAG, the UAE’s largest local potato producer. Elite Agro owns and operates a 1,212-hectare farm in Nahel, Al Ain, producing up to 8,400 tons of potatoes this harvest season. EAG potatoes will be sold under its newly rebranded Elite Fresh brand and available at leading retailers including Spinneys and Carrefour, and can be ordered online.

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McDonalds to exit Russia after three decades

McDonald ’s Corp. said it would quit Russia and sell its business there, ending more than three decades in the country over its invasion of Ukraine. As Michael Wright and Dean Seal reports for The Wall Street Journal, the fast-food giant joins a raft of Western companies, from auto makers to oil producers, exiting Russia as the war in Ukraine rumbles on.

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PepsiCo and USAID award women potato farmers from West Bengal

PepsiCo and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) this week acknowledged and awarded six women potato farmers as part of its ‘Women’s Land Rights and Economic Empowerment’ activity in West Bengal. According to an Agri News Network (ANN) report, the farmers were selected for their extraordinary work in the field of agriculture and for breaking stereotypes in their local communities.

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Fry crisis in Asia: KFC Singapore stops selling french fries; McDonald’s Philippines serving just regular fries

KFC Singapore said on Thursday (28 April) that it is not offering French fries for now but assured customers that the item “will be back soon” amid a global potato shortage. McDonald’s Philippines has paused sales of larger portions of their fries due to “the global freight crisis,” saying they are “working hard to bring back all sizes very soon.”

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Calbee’s new ‘wet chips’ – fad or game changer?

Japanese snack companies are always looking for new and exciting ways to tantalise our taste buds, writes Oona McGee in this news article for SoraNews24. She says the country’s leading potato chip maker, Calbee, is ‘changing the game entirely’ by taking the crunch out of their potato chips, with a new product called “Nure Jaga“, which translates to “wet potato“.

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Bayer launches ‘GeoPotato’, a new geodata-driven early warning system for late blight in potatoes

Powered by satellite data and powerful analysis models, ‘GeoPotato’ is designed to enable preventive spraying, easier crop protection decisions, and improved farmer incomes. GeoPotato was launched by Bayer as a geodata-driven early warning system for late blight in potatoes, and has entered a full commercial roll-out in Bangladesh. It could potentially reach as many as 1 million smallholder farmers in the coming years.

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South Korea’s Lotteria burger chain seeking potato suppliers ‘other than U.S.’ due to supply chain frustrations

McDonald’s Korea and Lotteria are suffering from frozen potato shortages, scrambling to replace their French fries with chicken nuggets or cheese sticks due to supply chain problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lotte GRS, operator of Lotteria, reportedly said it is seeking other global potato suppliers instead of the U.S., where the fast food franchise imports most of its frozen potatoes from.

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PepsiCo scraps Scottish seed potato exports to Russia

A deal to export 2,000t of Scottish seed potatoes to Russia has been scrapped by PepsiCo following criticism of the arrangement. As Ed Henderson reports for Farmers Weekly, the company said “a couple of lorries” had already left Scottish farms this week, but following discussion with growers, the decision had been made to stop future shipments.

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McCain Foods scraps plans for Russian plant, donates to Red Cross in Ukraine

McCain Foods has scrapped its plan to open a potato processing plant in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. “We have now made the decision to discontinue the project entirely,” Charlie Angelakos, McCain’s vice-president of global external affairs and sustainability said to the CBC in an emailed statement. “In addition, we are also suspending all shipments of our products into the Russian market.”

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