South, Central America

Pulsemaster leads the charge in PEF technology for enhanced potato processing yield in North America

Dutch-German company Pulsemaster continues to innovate in potato processing with its Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) systems, offering higher yield and quality in French fries and potato chips production. The PEF technology creates tiny pores in cellular membranes, reducing cutting force and improving product quality. Pulsemaster’s PEF systems are increasingly in demand worldwide, making even tough produce like sweet potatoes easily processable. Key Account Manager for the Americas, Ben Lemieux, stands ready to provide further information.

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Potato innovation: Sprout AI cultivates first potato seed using its ‘fogponics’ system in Panama

Sprout AI Inc., in partnership with the Agriculture Innovation Institute of Panama (IDIAP), has successfully cultivated the first potato seed of the ‘Karú’ variety using its proprietary fogponics system in controlled environments in Panama. This breakthrough aims to replace imported potato seeds, predominantly from Germany, with domestic production, boosting Panama’s food security. The project underscores the potential of technology in agriculture and solidifies the fruitful alliance between the government and private enterprises.

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Lamb Weston invests $250 million in Argentina’s potato industry – with an eye on the international processing market

U.S. headquartered Lamb Weston is making significant strides in constructing a big potato processing plant with an investment of $250 million in Argentina, according to a news report by Hector Huergo for Clarin. The construction of the new plant began a year ago and is progressing on schedule in the Mar del Plata Industrial Park. The entire production of the plant will be earmarked for the international market.

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Drought and frost batter vital potato crops in Bolivia

Dozens of furrows lie barren in a dusty field on the Bolivian highlands. It should be replete with potato plants ready for harvest, but a deadly combination of drought and frost proved too much for the crop. “In the Bolivian highlands, we are fully experiencing the effects of climate change,” said loacel NGO Cipca technician Orlando Ticona.

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Harnessing the power of wild potatoes to feed a climate-challenged world, while reducing agrochemical use

Scientists in South America are tapping the power of wild potatoes to breed disease-resistant and resilient varieties. The recent release of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) disease-resistant CIP-Matilde variety in Peru is the result of years of work and investment in conserving and studying potato wild relatives and using them to breed potatoes that combine characteristics that consumers want with the wild potatoes’ ability to cope with diseases and climate extremes.

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The Peruvian wine made from sugary potatoes

Though wine is most often made using grapes, Winemaker Magazine explains that a plethora of other fermentable ingredients can be used as a base for your bottle of wine. But, as Nick Johnson reports for The Daily Meal, arguably the most unexpected wine base is a peculiar potato indigenous to Peru. VinePair notes that high in the Andean mountains, a man named Manuel Choqque [also called the ‘potato whisperer’] is transforming tubers into wine.

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Towards decarbonizing the production of potatoes: Yara wants to turn potato chips climate friendly in Argentina

Yara has signed a memorandum of understanding with El Parque Papas to deliver fossil free green fertilizers to the biggest potato farmer in Argentina. This marks an important step towards making one of the most popular snacks in the country climate friendly, Yara says in a press release. El Parque Papas is the biggest singular potato farmer in Argentina. They supply 14,000 metric tons of potatoes every year to the Argentinian potato industry, including production of some of the most popular chips in the country.

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PepsiCo Alimentos Venezuela launches program to train potato growers

PepsiCo is the largest potato processor of potatoes in Venezuela, with around 2,400 tons per year. PepsiCo Alimentos Venezuela recently launched its ‘Agro with Purpose’ program, hoping to learn new techniques to more than 100 potato growers in Venezeula’s Mérida state. Gabriel Ginés, general manager of PepsiCo Alimentos Venezuela, explained that these farmers are to receive new knowledge for sustainable and technological production, which facilitates the planting process.

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Lamb Weston announces $240 million investment in new french fry processing line in Argentina

Lamb Weston Holdings announced this week an expansion of french fry processing capacity in Argentina with the planned construction of a new manufacturing facility in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires. “Our investment in a new french fry processing facility demonstrates our continued confidence in the growing global market for frozen french fries, and our commitment to serving our customers in Argentina and the broader South American market,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston.

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FAO supports Peru’s proposal to establish an ‘International Potato Day’

The FAO Committee on Agriculture recently endorsed a Peruvian initiated project to have May 30 designated world wide as “International Potato Day”. The Committee aims to get the proposal approved by the FAO Council and Conference, and also presented to the United Nations General Assembly. If approved, the first International Potato Day will be celebrated globally on May 30, 2024.

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In Memoriam: A tribute to Dr. Barbara H. Wells, Director General, International Potato Center

“The unexpected passing of Dr. Barbara Wells in February 2022 was a blow to everyone at CIP and across the CGIAR and our partner organizations,” writes Dr. Oscar Ortiz, interim Director General of CIP in this memoriam article, published in CIP’s Annual Report for 2021. “From the hallways of CIP headquarters in Lima, Peru to the field site of the most remote CIP and CGIAR science team, Barbara was liked and respected by all. Her presence will be greatly missed.”

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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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Elea and Inka Crops testing Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) systems for Peruvian snacks

Inka Crops is specialised in the production and marketing of gourmet and alternative snacks of Peruvian origin. In 2019 Inka Crops and Elea started to cooperate, testing PEF applicability on plantain and vegetable chips, as well as Andean snacks, in Elea’s pilot testing facilities. The work has shown the potential to improve raw material slicing and product yield, reduce frying time and temperature, and enhance product texture and colour.

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Seed banks: The last line of defense against a threatening global food crisis

As the risks from the climate crisis and global conflict increase, roughly 1,700 seed banks are increasingly considered a priceless resource that could one day prevent a worldwide food crisis, write Salomé Gómez-Upegui and Rita Liu in an extensive article published by The Guardian. One of these is the Potato Park, located in Pisac, Peru.

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CIP’s 50th anniversary: Celebrating Andean agrobiodiversity, launching two unique books

The International Potato Center (CIP) recently celebrated a significant milestone – the 50th anniversary of its founding. In an event entitled Agrobiodiversity for people, the planet and prosperity, friends of CIP gathered virtually worldwide to focus on CIP’s relationship with Peru, the Andes and the region’s important role to play in food systems transitions building on its unique agrobiodiversity.

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CIP mourns the passing of Director General, Barbara H. Wells

The International Potato Center (CIP) expresses its collective grief to note the passing of Barbara Wells, our Director General and the Global Director of Genetic Innovation for CGIAR. “Through a steadfast commitment to genetic innovation, high-impact research and mentoring female scientists, Dr. Wells helped devise solutions to agriculture’s most pressing challenges and, in the process, bolstered nutrition and food security for millions of vulnerable people around the world.”

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Colombia’s Frozen Express finds success with Elea PEF system

In August 2021, Frozen Express has installed an Elea PEF system into their production line as part of an upgrade of their processing line. The aim of the PEF implementation was to be able to produce larger fries in different shapes with better quality and to save costs in the production process.

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The Brazilian conservation farmer who ‘kidnaps’ carbon: ‘This makes me a better farmer’

“As a conservation farmer, the practices we use on our farm are allowing us to ‘kidnap carbon’ from the atmosphere and store it in our soil. This makes me a better farmer. The practice of carbon farming supports my efforts to grow more food and help the environment at the same time,” writes Andre-Figueiredo Dobashi in this article published by Global Farmer Network. The article is titled “I’m a conservation farmer who kidnaps carbon for good”.

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CIP: Putting the world’s largest potato collection in the deep freeze

The International Potato Center (CIP) is conserving the future of potato genetic diversity in the world’s largest potato cryobank and setting new standards to transform the way that other priority clonal crops like sweetpotato and yams are held in safe storage. These innovations ensure we have an essential backup collection of the clonal crops that 300 million smallholders in developing countries depend on.

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The ‘potato custodians’ in the Andes who are safeguarding this crop’s future

In the Peruvian Andes, “potato custodians” are preserving hundreds of varieties of our humble tuber. In this CNN video, aired a couple of days ago, you will meet one of the hundreds of Latin American “custodians” of indigenous potato varieties. There are about 4,000 native potato varieties in the world, and most of them are grown in the Andes. Only a handful are available in supermarkets around the world. Climate change is threatening agricultural systems, making this kind of diversity an insurance policy for our future food security.

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XAG demonstrates potential of fully autonomous drones for potato farmers

Flying into the Andes mountains of Ecuador, XAG Agricultural Drones are recently introduced to a series of on-farm spray trials for high-altitude specialty crops. The demonstrations on potato fields have presented the high potential of fully autonomous drones in reducing labour cost and agricultural pesticide exposure. The agile agricultural drone would be a powerful tool to promote sustainable farming in Ecuador’s 3.2 million hectares of cultivable soil.

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‘G+ Tools’: A new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding

In response to the challenges of climate change, growing demands for food, and persistent malnutrition, crop breeders across the Global South are developing more resilient, productive and nutritious potato varieties. The G+ Tools – a new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding developed by the International Potato Center and the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas – promises to address this barrier by advancing a holistic framework to evaluate what traits men and women, farmers and consumers want in their potato, sweetpotato, cassava, and other crop varieties.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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