News June 2022

Soaring food prices push more Cargill family members on to world’s richest 500 list

How more sick can this world of “haves” and “have-nots” become? As Rupert Neate reports for The Guardian, a “giant leap” in global food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has helped three members of the super-rich Cargill family, who majority-own one of the world’s largest food companies, join the ranks of the world’s 500 richest people.

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NPC President: ‘American potato industry keeps an eye on the future’

This article is by by Jared Balcom, 2022 President of National Potato Council (NPC). “Despite all the changes the nation has experienced during this pandemic, the U.S. potato industry remains as committed as ever to fighting for federal policies that protect our businesses, our families, and the communities we support. Whether it is in trade, nutritional regulations, environmental policies, or labor rules, we have seen firsthand what we can do as an industry when we stand together.”

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Global sustainable tech company TOMRA announces strategy to double revenues in five years

TOMRA revealed plans to accelerate the path to a sustainable future and double its revenues in five years at its capital markets day on 23 June in Mülheim-Kärlich, Germany. The company’s strategy is built on accelerating growth in its three core divisions, and using the current business platform to develop adjacent business opportunities. TOMRA is uniquely positioned along global megatrends, with leading market positions, best- in-class technologies, and purpose driven employees.

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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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Canadian research: Using hyperspectral imaging technology to test potato quality more quickly, efficiently

Currently, the traditional way to find out whether or not a potato is good to go to market is basic and old-fashioned – cut it open and look to see if there are defects. A new research project at Lethbridge College aims to use cutting-edge near-infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging technology to test potato quality such as internal defects, greening and specific gravity more quickly and efficiently.

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Platform: ‘How the humble potato is already helping end world hunger’

“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.

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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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Europatat pays tribute to outgoing President Gilles Fontaine

June marks the end of the Europatat Presidency for Mr Gilles Fontaine, who joined the Europatat Board in 2014 as Treasurer and became President in 2018. Throughout these years, Mr Fontaine played an outstanding role in shaping Europatat on several fronts. His presidency was characterised by innovative ideas, strategic thinking and, most valuable, his relentless efforts to increase the visibility and representation of Europatat both at national and international levels.

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Storage: June issue of ‘Synopsis bulletin’ published

In the June issue of his monthly Synopsis bulletin, storage specialist Adrian Cunnington reports on the recent World Potato Congress event in Dublin, including the technical tour to O’Shea Farms. The bulletin further includes a link to his presentation on post-CIPC solutions at the WPC conference session on storage, which also featured talks by Nora Olsen, Kurt Demeulemeester and Derek Ralston.

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The GRIMME Group: ‘Forging ahead on the road to continued success’

In 2021, the GRIMME Group based in Damme in Germany built upon the good year of 2020, despite the Corona pandemic, the shortage of skilled workers and the impact of Brexit. The company says in a press release that its turnover has increased by 9.43% from €509.1 million to €557.1 million in 2021. All manufacturing companies within the Group – GRIMME, SPUDNIK, ASA-LIFT, INTERNORM and RICON – increased their overall turnover.

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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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Seed potato sale ban continues to ‘anger and frustrate’ Scottish growers

The ongoing post-Brexit ban on selling seed potatoes to the valuable European market continues to anger and frustrate Scottish growers according to NFU Scotland. As William Kellett reports for Agiland, the union is calling for urgent action from the EU Commission and the UK government to agree a new model for two-way trade in seed potatoes between GB, the EU and Northern Ireland.

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Mega machine convoy leaves AVR Roeselare for Denmark

On Monday 20 June, a machine convoy of eight trucks left AVR Roeselare in Belgium heading towards Denmark. The West Flemish potato machinery manufacturer is set to deliver none less than eight harvesters from Roeselare to its Danish dealer this week. The convoy is set to arrive tomorrow morning (Wednesday 22 June) at AVR dealer Weko Agro, where an open day will be held.

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AAFC scientist honoured as one of 2022’s Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture

AAFC scientist, Dr. Christine Noronha has been named one of seven 2022 Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture by Annex Business Media. It’s because of Dr. Noronha that an important invention for farmers in the fight against pesky wireworms, a common potato plant predator, bears her name. The NELT™ or Noronha Elaterid Light Trap designed by Dr. Noronha in 2016 is a major breakthrough for the industry. She discovered the world’s first planted-based approach to controlling wireworms.

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New ‘3D ninety’ nozzles give better all-round blight protection

British potato growers should switch to new Syngenta 3D ninety nozzles to ensure more timely blight applications this season – and achieve the best possible results, advocates the company’s application specialist, Harry Fordham. The 90% drift reduction nozzles create the optimum droplet spectrum for coverage throughout the crop canopy, including lower leaves and stems where micro-climate conditions can be particularly humid and conducive to blight infection.

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‘Progress Together’: Lamb Weston issues new sustainability report

Lamb Weston Holdings issued its third annual Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) report today, reporting progress against 2030 ESG goals announced in its last report. “Our teams are committed to working together to make progress against our ambitious 2030 goals,” said Tom Werner, CEO, Lamb Weston. “We’re focused on our long-term future, which means making meaningful changes to reduce our impact on the environment.”

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Sharp increase in packing costs for Idaho potato growers

The cost of packing Idaho’s most famous commodity, potatoes, has risen at least 36 percent over the past two years. That’s according to a new report funded by the Idaho Grower Shippers Association (IGSA), which represents shippers, growers, marketers and processors of Idaho potatoes. “That’s a pretty big increase,” said IGSA President Shawn Boyle. “It’s pretty drastic.”

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FAO Director-General: ‘Doubling global potato production in 10 years is possible’

Potatoes could contribute even more to world history and global food security, and total production of the food crop could double in the next 10 years, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said in his keynote presentation to the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC), which was convened in Dublin at the end of May.

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Europatat announces new Strategy 2022 – 2025

On 30 May 2022, the Europatat membership gathered in Dublin where they approved a new vision and mission for Europatat, as well as the key fields of action and priorities for the next three years (2022-2025) to achieve progress in all of the major objectives of the Association.

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Modern times, modern equipment: Dewulf going full ISOBUS for the 2023 planting season

As supplier of a complete range of agricultural machines for the cultivation of potatoes and root crops, Dewulf will be introducing full ISOBUS on nearly all CP and structural potato planters from the autumn of 2022. The company points out that ISOBUS operation is manufacturer-independent and therefore available both via the tractor and via an additional display in the cabin. This means that joysticks in the tractor can be used to control the planter.

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To all Spud Dads…

Happy Fathers Day to all Spud Dads out there! I received a copy of a delightful little piece sent to a good friend of mine by his kids, and I translated it into English. I hope you enjoy it as well? It is titled “My Dad is an Iron Man”…

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Dakota Russet now approved for McDonald’s fries

The most recent potato variety to join the list of approved McDonald’s potato varieties is the Dakota Russet, developed at North Dakota State University by Asunta Thompson, associate professor of plant science and potato breeder. “This is a dream come true,” Thompson said. “Having our russet accepted by McDonald’s for their french fries is the gold standard we all strive for…

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