News May 2022

Syngenta Canada to distribute nitrogen-fixing biological

Syngenta Canada Inc. announced it has secured exclusive rights to distribute Azotic Technologies’ nitrogen-fixing biological, Envita, in Canada. Envita is registered for use on a wide range of crops, including but not limited to potatoes, corn, canola, cereals, and soybeans. Envita is a biofertility product featuring a food-grade strain of the bacteria Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus.

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Shameful: Russian invaders destroyed the National Gene Bank of Plants of Ukraine

One of the world’s largest the National Gene Bank of named after V.Ya. Yuriev National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine, located in Kharkiv, was destroyed during the war. The bank kept more than 160 thousand varieties of plant seeds, and hybrids of agricultural crops worldwide, including seeds that no longer exist in Europe and in the world.

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WUR appoints Richard Harrison as new Managing Director Plant Sciences Group

The Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has appointed Richard Harrison as the Managing Director of the Plant Sciences Group (PSG) as of 1 September 2022. Richard Harrison currently leads NIAB’s research work in arable crops, and NIAB’s contribution to the Crop Science Centre, an alliance between the University of Cambridge and NIAB.

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Ireland: A celebration of the humble Fingal spud at the World Potato Congress

Fingal is famous for its spuds and local producers as well as some of the county’s big food companies will be participating in the 11th World Potato Congress which, for the first time, is being held in Ireland, from May 30 to June 2. Hosting this unique, global event was a major coup for the Irish Potato Federation who competed with several other countries to win a highly competitive bid in 2018.

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EuroBlight reports on results of the 2021 European potato late blight monitoring

EuroBlight, a late blight monitoring network for Europe, is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen. Euroblight has now released a report detailing the results of the 2021 monitoring activities. Approximately 2500 samples from 26 countries were genotyped. According to the report, blight pressure in 2021 was higher than average across many parts of Europe.

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Viewpoint: ‘The reinvention of agriculture’

International economist Steven Cerier writes in this article, published by Genetic Literacy Project, that agriculture must become more productive to feed a growing world population. This can only be accomplished by the further application of science and technology, “and not as some suggest by going backwards in time to a much simpler and idealized form of farming that shuns the use of biotechnology and technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots and microchips…”

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U.S. potato exports show continued signs of recovery

With many countries around the globe relaxing restrictions and showing signs of recovery from the pandemic, demand for U.S. potato exports is strong in many markets. Potatoes USA says in a news release that during the first three quarters of the marketing year (July 2021-March 2022), overall U.S. potato and potato product exports increased from the same period one year earlier.

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HarvestEye to showcase innovative technology tool at World Potato Congress event

HarvestEye – a machine-learning driven crop insights tool – is heading to the World Potato Congress at the end of May, as it continues to showcase on the global agricultural stage the actionable insights it places in the hands of growers. HarvestEye comprises of a patented technology that provides timely insights on root crops as they are lifted – presenting growers with valuable information on the size and count over a whole field that is absent from conventional sampling.

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World Bank: Fertilizer prices expected to remain higher for longer

In the third in a series of 11 blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the April 2022 edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook, John Baffes and Wee Chian write that fertilizer prices have risen nearly 30% since the start of 2022, following last year’s 80% surge. Urea prices are expected to remain at historically high levels for as long as natural gas and coal prices remain elevated.

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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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Canada: Snack maker establishes new state-of-the-art potato chip processing facility in Alberta

Super-Pufft, one of North America’s largest manufacturers and co-packers of salty snacks for retailers and national brands, has established a new state-of-the-art potato chip processing facility in Alberta. The new $50-million facility will support Alberta potato producers and create more than 100 jobs for the Airdrie area. It will use about 78,000 tonnes of Alberta potatoes each year.

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FAO distributes seed potatoes to vulnerable rural families in Ukraine

Working to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable rural families in Ukraine, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has distributed seed potato kits to 17 740 households from across ten of the country’s oblasts so they can plant food in time for the next harvesting season. Some 46 000 people stand to benefit from the campaign.

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AVR’s Ceres 450: The answer to the quest for precision potato planting equipment

The Ceres 450 is AVR’s 4-row trailed potato planter that can be combined with tilling equipment, such as the specially designed AVR GE-Force C ridge cultivator, the basic AVR GE-Force and with other brands. All new Ceres 450 planters can be built optionally with the new ISOBUS link. This allows the planter to communicate with a GPS system via the ISOBUS protocol.

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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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Over 1,000 delegates to attend World Potato Congress in Ireland

Over 1,000 delegates and 60 guest speakers are set to attend the World Potato Congress (WPC) at the end of the month, which is being hosted in Ireland for the first time. As Megan O’Brian reports for Agriland, the 11th WPC will take place from May 30 to June 2, in Dublin’s RDS, and will hear guest speakers and experts from across the globe share their knowledge and insights on the industry.

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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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Farmlands in Europe may be the single largest reservoir of microplastics in the world

We might have unknowingly been dumping huge quantities of microplastics on our croplands. It’s all due to the high levels of these particles in sewage-sludge-derived fertilizers, reports Alexandru Micu in an article for ZME Science. According to Micu’s report, researchers at Cardiff University estimate that anywhere between 31,000 and 42,000 tons of microplastics find their way into Europe’s farmlands every year.

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Ukrainian farmers dodge landmines and rockets as world’s farmers offer help

Destruction and devastation litter the Ukrainian countryside. Farms have turned into battlegrounds as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stretches into another month, as Clinton Griffiths reports for The Scoop. Landmines and munitions (military weapons, ammunition and equipment) now litter fields. Farmers working those fields are wearing flak jackets and helmets.

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