Europe, UK, Ireland

‘Import tariffs would cripple the British potato industry’: Trader

Import tariffs would “cripple” the potato industry and lead to Holland squeezing out Scotland as a competitor, the boss of Strathmore Potatoes in the UK says. The Forfar company exports 6,000 tonnes of seed pots a year, mainly to  Egypt, Morocco, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia and mainland Europe, in particular France. Director Stuart McIntyre said the company feels in limbo but is concentrating on[Read More…]

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Hard work and long hours take toll on British farmers

Hard work and long hours are taking their toll on British farmers and their families, who are looking for ways to improve their work-life balance, a major Farmers Weekly survey reveals. On average farmers work a 65-hour week – far exceeding the UK national average of 37 hours. Some growers and livestock producers work in excess of 100 hours, according to the study[Read More…]

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Small potatoes causing problems for McDonald’s Netherlands this year

As a result of the dry weather, potatoes are smaller than usual this year in the Netherlands. Because of the small-sized potatoes, fries will also be shorter this year. This is problematic for fast food chain McDonald’s. “When the fries don’t meet our specifications, it affects the specialised equipment in our kitchens that measure, position and fry our fries,” says[Read More…]

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Belgian retailer expands direct partnership with potato farmers

Since 18 September, Colruyt and OKay customers were able to find potatoes that resulted from a close partnership between the Colruyt Group and 16 local farmers. This concerns 5kg bags of Boni Selection Friet (Fries) and Everyday Zachtkokend (Soft-boiling) potatoes. This is the culmination of a trial project that was set up last year. It aimed to achieve a consistent level of quality and to guarantee a[Read More…]

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Ag minister: Germany’s potato harvest down 25 percent

This summer’s drought and heatwave will cut Germany’s potato harvest by around 25 percent on the year to about 8.7 million tonnes, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Reuters reports that the reduced potato harvest is the latest in a series of bad news after German crops wilted under the highest summer temperatures since records began in 1881. According[Read More…]

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Potato shortage leads to soaring prices in Cyprus

Serious shortages in the supply of locally produced potatoes have led to soaring prices and to an increasing dependence on equally expensive imported produce. “The months of September and October are always marked by potato shortages since the winter crop isn’t harvested until November-December, but this year is especially bad,” Christakis Varnavas from Red Soil Potatoes from the eastern village of[Read More…]

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European drought: Avebe braces for “historically low potato harvest”

Avebe is increasing the advance payment for potatoes to €67 a ton to mitigate the impact of extreme drought and high temperatures. The Dutch potato starch manufacturer is bracing itself for a substantially lower than usual harvest this season as drought and high temperatures have battered potato yields all over Europe which will lead to a decline in the availability[Read More…]

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Environmentalists want Walkers to replace its potato chip bags

The British postal service has urged people to put empty potato chip packets into envelopes before mailing them back to their manufacturer. The rather unusual request from Royal Mail comes in the context of an environmentalist campaign against the use of non-recyclable packaging by Walkers, a PepsiCo subsidiary that is the UK’s biggest potato chip brand. Walkers has said it intends to introduce[Read More…]

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Drought 2018 still posing questions for British potato growers

A special session at the final Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Strategic Farm field walk of the season focused on storage and saw discussion on the challenges caused by this summer’s drought. The session took place on Tuesday, September 4, and was added to the planned trials programme at the Elveden Estate in west Suffolk to give growers and store[Read More…]

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Seed Industry Event in the UK to focus on post-Brexit seed trade

After the success of the 2016 event, the Seed Industry Event will return to Fairmont, St Andrews on 15 November this year. The event will have a major theme focusing on how what the future may hold for the seed trade in a post-Brexit world and how to make the most of the global export market opportunities Brexit will present.[Read More…]

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Late blight expert: ‘How do you disarm Phytophthora?’

Plant breeders regularly claim to have developed a new potato variety that is resistant to the harmful micro-organism Phytophthora infestans (see inset). By cross-breeding they have introduced a resistance gene that they think will keep the little fungus-like pathogen out. But Francine Govers, professor in Phytopathology and a leading expert on Phytophthora, never makes these kinds of claims. She knows that the stubborn pathogen cannot[Read More…]

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Ireland’s Meade family ‘gleaning’ up to keep sustainability at the core

Meade Potato Company in Ireland won on the double at the recent Food and Drink Business Awards, taking home the ‘Fresh Produce Company of the Year’ and ‘Sustainable Factory of the Year’ awards. The family firm’s Robert Devlin and Eleanor Meade rushed to the awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, September 5, after a busy afternoon spent ‘gleaning’, a joint initiative with[Read More…]

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British chips to become much shorter

Britons will be served up shorter chips this year as potato farmers across Europe struggle to cope with the worst summer drought for decades. Britain eats 1.75 million tonnes of frozen chips every year and is, alongside the US, the world’s largest importer of the product. Almost all frozen fry imports to Britain, about 750,000 tonnes, come from the Netherlands and[Read More…]

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Late blight update issued for the UK

According to Dr James Cooke at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, having experienced one of the driest seasons since the Fight Against Blight began – clearly the weather has had a major impact. “After some early appearances on discard piles in Kent in mid-April, we have received very few recorded outbreaks compared to previous years. This has allowed us[Read More…]

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Bord Bia gears up for Ireland’s National Potato Day 2018

Bord Bia has announced the details of this year’s National Potato Day which takes place on Friday, October 5. The annual celebration honours Ireland’s most loved crop and encourages consumers to recognise its nutritional value and experiment with new and exciting recipes. This year Bord Bia is asking people to “Imagine a world without potatoes?” Tying in with a global campaign theme[Read More…]

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UK Potato Weekly report: Lifting continues, albeit off the pace

AHDB Potatoes in the UK published its Potato Weekly report on Friday. According to the report, lifting across the UK has continued this week although it remains behind normal levels. Growers continue to wait for tubers to gain bulk and for skins to set, following the drought and subsequent rains. For many, secondary growth is a concern, particularly for non-irrigated[Read More…]

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Austria’s potato harvest 2018 turning out far below expectations

This year, decision-makers from the Austrian potato industry again gathered in Roseldorf/Lower Austria at the end of August to discuss the state of the national and international potato markets, reports AgrarMarkt Austria. All provided various contributions and evaluated the current situation in Austria’s potato industry. After a good starting price of 35-40 EUR/dt at the beginning of June, prices stabilized four[Read More…]

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Germany faces ‘severe potato shortage’ and increase in consumer prices

Germany faces a severe potato shortage as a consequence of unusually hot and dry weather this summer, the German Farming Society (DLG) warned on Wednesday. “We are expecting one of the smallest potato harvests of all times in Germany”, Martin Umhau, a member of the DLG supervisory board, told the German press agency (dpa). According to Umhau, an anticipated fall in potato[Read More…]

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Blame the European heat wave for pricier fish and chips

The record-breaking heatwave and lack of rain across Europe has hurt potato crops, with prices tripling in the U.K. in August from a year earlier. That’s forced fish and chip shops to charge more for a portion of fries that form one half of the traditional British staple. Further price hikes loom, said Andrew Crook, president of the federation representing[Read More…]

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Tereos to start potato campaign in France

Tereos has started its potato campaign in France which will be spread over 160 days with almost 9,600 hectares of starch potatoes expected to be exported. To ensure the competitiveness of this cooperative sector, Tereos has invested a total of €25 million (US$28.9 million) over the last three years and is taking further steps to enlarge the company’s total storage capacity. According[Read More…]

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British potato company agrees to £52.95mln cash takeover offer

One of the UK’s leading potato producers Produce Investments PLC has agreed to around a £52.95mln recommended cash takeover offer from a Jersey company ultimately owned and controlled by funds managed by Promethean Investments LLP. The AIM-listed group said April 1983 Bidco Limited is offering 193p in cash for each Produce Investments share, around a 35% premium to the stock’s 142.50p[Read More…]

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