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.”
Europe, UK, Ireland
Gordon MP Richard Thomson has given a cautious welcome to a response from DEFRA Minister of State Richard Benyon confirming the UK Government has acted on his request that it seek the same derogations for Scottish seed potatoes that allowed imports to the EU from some parts of Canada in the early 2000s.
Innovation is key to achieve healthy, sustainable growth and to be able to tackle the current challenges, such as climate change, water scarcity, fertiliser shortages, labour shortage and rising costs of raw materials and energy, according to the organisers of the Interpom 2022 event. With the help of an independent group of experts, Interpom organisers has selected a number of must-see innovations developed by exhibitors.
The figures speak for themselves. Back in 2013, Irish potato consumption levels had dropped to 100,000t/yr and were projected, back then, to keep on falling. Today the figure stands at 200,000t and looks set to rise into the future. So what has brought about this more than significant – and very welcome – turn of events about? Well, unless anyone would like to argue differently, the plaudits for all of this must be directed towards Bord Bia [Irish Food Board].
The ban on UK seed potato exports to the EU and Northern Ireland has reached crisis point for Northern Irish potato growers who depend ”very heavily” on seed imported from Scotland, according to leading Irish potato grower-packer Wilson’s Country. Wilson’s Country CEO Angus Wilson told Northern Ireland Minister of State Steve Baker MP that the ban could severely damage the competitiveness of potato production in Northern Ireland.
The Mintec benchmark price for packing potatoes in the UK declined by 5% month-on-month on the week of 23 November. Despite the recent decline in prices, they remain up 31% year-on-year. Potato growers continue to face higher production costs, largely for energy, fertiliser and transportation. The cost of storing potatoes rose significantly compared to 2021.
Retail demand and household consumption in Ireland have picked up since colder weather has set in, as the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports. Storage costs are a multiple of last year’s costs and growers must immediately receive an increase at farm gate level to compensate for this, IFA says. In the U.K. ambient stores are difficult to hold while it has been so mild and “wets” in bags are a problem for some growers.
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has urged UK Government to involve Scottish agriculture and Scottish Government on trade decisions affecting the sector. Ms Martin discussed her concerns for seed potato growers, for whom she said the withdrawal from the EU has had disastrous consequences as the ongoing post-Brexit ban on selling seed potatoes to the valuable EU market continues to disadvantage Scottish growers.
National Potato Conference in Ireland: ‘Growers need fair share of market price for a sustainable future’
Speaking at the National Potato Conference in Co Meath today, IFA President Tim Cullinan called on the newly-approved Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri Food Supply Chain to ensure a fair share of the consumer price is paid back to farmers and unfair trading practices are eliminated. “Growers need to receive a fair share of the retail value. They carry all of the risk while the facilitators and retailers take the lion’s share of the margin,” Tim Cullinan said.
Elea is introducing its new PEF Advantage B1000-850 system for the processing of chips and fries, the company’s highest capacity belt system to date. According to Stefan Toepfl, Managing Director at Elea: “We have combined ten years of experience, process know-how and user feedback into the design, enabling our clients to process more for less.”
With the Puma 4.0, AVR introduced the world to a robust, high-tech 4-row self-propelled harvester. For the 2023 season, AVR is planning a major upgrade of the All Conditions Control (ACC) digging unit’s depth control mechanism. With fuel prices at an all-time high, AVR says the Puma’s fuel consumption is very low. The machine will be on display for the first time at Interpom 2022.
Pulsemaster set to unveil latest pulsed electric field (PEF) innovations, discuss future vision during Interpom 2022
Industry professionals involved in the potato processing sector are invited to meet with the Pulsemaster team at this year’s Interpom event to discuss the company’s latest pulsed electric field (PEF) solutions, and its commitment to keep pace with emerging industry trends. “Our latest Pulsemaster PEF-systems are a must-see,” says Managing Director, Mark de Boevere.
Potato, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, writes Jane Stannus in an article published by The Spectator. There are great buttery mountains of mashed Yukon Golds, and then there are oven-roasted wedges with lime, dill and black pepper… Potato historians claim that once European farmers reluctantly accepted the tuber, Europe entered into a new era of plenty, where potatoes formed an easy crop and served as inexpensive food for the poor.
The PSI Potato Store Managers’ Course is an annual participative course for growers and store managers who are involved in the day-to-day management of potato stores. The course is organised by Potato Storage Insight Ltd in the UK. It will follow a tried and tested format and will include talks, group discussions and practical interactive sessions, focusing on all aspects of potato storage. Tutors will include Adrian Cunnington of PSI (pictured) and Glyn Harper, both formerly of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research.
IFA: Harvesting conditions in Ireland ‘very difficult’, European growers hoping for movement in fresh markets
According to the IFA, growers in Ireland continue to harvest where possible, with some progress being made in the last week but conditions were very difficult. Ireland’s National Potato Conference will take place next Tuesday November 22nd. Across Europe, on the fresh markets, growers have been pushing for movement to avoid storage costs.
The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT) aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. A total of 16 varieties were selected for trials in Austria with a focus on representing abiotic stress resistance. Eleven varieties obtained from potato breeders involved in ADAPT, namely HZPC, Solana, Meijer and NOES, are also being tested for drought and heat tolerance in Spain and the Netherlands.
Interpom 2022 is just around the corner, and equipment manufacturer Dewulf will display several of its innovative machines during the event from 27 to 29 November. This will be the first time Dewulf will bring the Miedema Structural 4000 Smart-Float to an in person trade fair. Several widely recognised favourites within the harvester range and planting and storage technology will also be heading to the international potato fair in Kortrijk.
Production in the North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) member countries is said to be down by 6% this year compared to last year. Planted acreage is expected to go down in 2023 because of rising production and storage costs in the four member countries – Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands (EU-4). On average in the NEPG zone, between October 2021 and October this year, electricity prices have gone up on average by 280% (ranging from 50 to 500% increase).
IFA: Harvest conditions in Ireland ‘very poor’, European growers push for sales to avoid storage costs
Retail sales and consumption have picked up and stabilised in Ireland since the weather has deteriorated. According to the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA) weekly market report, harvest conditions remain very poor following heavy rainfall. Across Europe in the fresh consumption sector, a good steady demand is reported, with values in Germany edging higher. While markets are currently flat, growers are pushing for sales to avoid storage costs.
The National Potato Conference and Trade Show 2022 in Ireland will take place in Co Meath, on Tues, Nov 22nd. The conference theme is ‘Potatoes – Protecting your Business for the Future’. The conference will be opened by Tipperary farmer and IFA President, Tim Cullinan.
On Thursday 3 November 2022, potato processing company Lutosa officially inaugurated its new flakes factory in Leuze-en-Hainaut in Belgium. This new, fully integrated facility represents a €45 million investment by McCain Foods in this strategic segment of the potato industry. 10% of the total investment is dedicated to improving the environmental impact.
‘Gourmet treats’ in store for potato lovers in Northern Ireland, says Wilson’s Country managing director
Northern Ireland’s potato lovers can look forward to an ongoing treat over the coming months, such is the quality of the 2022 harvest. Wilson’s Country managing director Lewis Cunningham said “the eating quality of the potato is fantastic and we can all look forward to enjoying floury potatoes with exceptional taste and flavour over the coming months.” Kyle Greer, the Executive Chef at Belfast’s Europa Hotel, agreed.
Bayer Crop Science in the UK recently published an insightful article on its website, providing potato growers with advice on the management of potato cyst nematodes (PCN). According to information published in the article, the first step to effectively managing potato-cyst nematodes is to sample soils to identify the species present and the population density. This is best done after the potato crop is harvested when test results will be most accurate. Testing pre-planting is also a useful management tool.
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.
The upcoming Interpom trade show in Belgium is regarded by many as the most specialised indoor trade fair for the potato sector in Europe where the whole chain is represented. It will be hosted on November 26 to 29 this year. Tolsma-Grisnich is happy to announce that it will be showcasing its product offerings at this event. Along with an independent group of specialists from Interpom, the company will showcase a number of ‘must-see’ innovations that will be featured at the fair throughout the event.
On 9, 10 and 11 November, HZPC will open its doors in Joure – and online – to anyone with a passion for potatoes. During Potato Days 2022, the company will discuss the challenges of food security and sustainability, now and in the future. And invited guests will further discuss how everyone involved in the global potato industry can make an important contribution together. HZPC will introduce visitors and online participants to its most promising varieties and innovations