COVID-19 News

Ireland’s Keogh’s sees potato sales surge

A surge in consumer demand for healthy home-cooked foods has seen a “phenomenal” uplift in fresh potato sales – with increases as high as 70% with certain customers, according to Tom Keogh, managing director of well-known potato and crisp company Keogh’s. Speaking to AgriLand, Keogh outlined the impact that Covid-19, and the subsequent measures to limit the coronavirus, have had on his company and the broader industry.

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Canada: How COVID-19 influenced the potato industry on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry had to scramble this month to respond to demand that changed seemingly overnight when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. “The last two or three weeks have been anything but typical in the potato world,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. While demand for fresh potatoes surged demand for processed potatoes — such as french fries — fell significantly, he said. Restaurants are a major customer for these products, and their business has suffered as people across North America are being told to stay home.

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Closure of chip shops in Britain bad news for potato growers

The closure of fish and chip shops due to coronavirus has left thousands of tonnes of potatoes languishing in storage – threatening to put farmers out of business, Farmers Weekly reports. Based in Cambridgeshire, potato merchants Abbey Produce usually supplies about 30,000t of potatoes into the chip shop trade every year. But sales director Duncan Negus told Farmers Weekly his company hadn’t been able to sell a single potato for more than a week.

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COVID-19 impact: The Dutch need to move a ‘mountain of potatoes’

Potato growers are facing huge losses now restaurants and snack bars have closed their doors and compensation plans have not yet materialised, the NRC reports. Now that the majority of restaurants, bars and fast food outlets worldwide have closed their doors to contain coronavirus, growers are looking at a stock of 1.5 million tons of potatoes, two thirds of which cannot be sold.

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CIP responds to COVID-19 pandemic

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world and disrupt the operations of many organizations, the International Potato Center (CIP) says in a recent press release it is now actively taking measures to ensure its staff, beneficiaries and partners remain healthy. CIP has national offices in 19 countries where the spread of coronavirus poses a substantial threat. It wants to make sure its work does not exacerbate the problem. As such, CIP has updated its operations policies and made certain recommendations to staff members.

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NZ: As COVID-19 decimates job numbers, one Kiwi industry can’t hire fast enough

Breaking the silence of a nationwide lockdown, the hum of a tractor is the only sound. Farmers are among the country’s essential workers, so farms and fields are remaining busy keeping food on Kiwis’ plates. And despite panic-buying, there is no shortage. New Zealand could survive on potatoes alone, writes Conor Whitten in an article published by Newshub Nation.

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Europatat confirms its commitment to support members amid COVID-19 crisis

In the latest Europatat Newsletter published today, it is said that as the COVID-19 is spreading through Europe, and on top of the terrible human component and personal challenges that the outbreak is causing, there is also an unprecedented widespread disruption to companies involved in the trade of agricultural products. Europatat says the potato sector faces a difficult time and the organization is active in supporting members, citing examples.

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Spudnik to continue manufacturing during COVID-19 outbreak

This past Friday, Idaho-based Spudnik Equipment released a statement in which is said that all its locations will remain open and available to growers, despite the Stay at Home order issued last week in Idaho and other closures prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Will warm weather really kill off Covid-19?

Some people hope that outbreaks of the new coronavirus will wane as temperatures rise, but pandemics often don’t behave in the same way as seasonal outbreaks. BBC Future looks at what we know.

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NPC welcomes ag benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed end of the week in the US, a $2 trillion bill with significant benefits to the US potato supply chain. National Potato Council (NPC) President Britt Raybould said, “We appreciate the commitment of our leaders to support U.S. ag producers. With spring planting underway in many areas of the nation, this bill lays the groundwork to improve the odds of a sustainable growing season.

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Europatat Congress 2020 cancelled

Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, regrets to inform that the Europatat Congress 2020, scheduled to take place on 11 and 12 June in Brussels, will be cancelled following the escalation of COVID-19 crisis in Europe. For Europatat, the safety and wellbeing of the Congress’ participants, speakers and partners is its number one priority. Europatat is also aware of the[Read More…]

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US: COVID-19, short supplies create hot potato market

Twenty-year potato industry veteran Lance Poole of Idaho-based Eagle Eye Produce Inc. was unequivocal in using the descriptor “hot” to describe the current potato market. “I’ve only seen a ‘hot’ market like this one other time in my more than 20 years in the industry,” said the executive vice president of the Idaho Falls company. “That was in 1998-99 soon[Read More…]

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US potato industry scrambles to meet demand during coronavirus lockdown

Air fryers and toaster ovens around the country may go cold this week as the potato industry takes a major hit due to soaring demand for spuds amid the coronavirus lockdown. Now, potato farmers and distributors are working around the clock to keep tater-loving Americans full on the hearty vegetable, UPI reports, as millions take to their kitchens — some for the first time —[Read More…]

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Free potato market in Belgium collapsed due to COVID-19

Due to the corona virus the free market of potatoes has completely collapsed. The PCA/Fiwap and the Belgapom price quotation has been suspended because of a lack of transactions on the free market of potatoes. According to Romain Cools of Belgapom, the federation of the Belgian potato processing and trade, in the meantime panic broke out among potato growers. Said[Read More…]

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Coronavirus and your workers – guidance for British farm businesses

In this article Julie Robinson, partner at Roythornes Solicitors and previously chief legal adviser at the National Farmers’ Union in the UK, considers some of the issues facing farmers and grower employers in the light of the developing coronavirus crisis. Farms are not professional services firms where remote working may be an alternative to being physically present on site, Julie writes.

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Europatat: European organizations issues statement on food security amid the Covid-19 outbreak

The European organisations CopaCogeca, FoodDrinkEurope and Celcaa (the European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade, of which Europatat is a member) have released a joint statement in which they assure that “Europe’s food supply chain will work closely together to ensure everybody in Europe continues to have access to safe, quality and affordable food and drink products during the Coronavirus pandemic”.

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US: Why there will soon be tons of toilet paper, and what food may be scarce, according to supply chain experts

Stuck rationing toilet paper because you didn’t stockpile during the coronavirus panic over the last few days? Don’t worry, according to supply chain experts. “All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you’ve got a year’s worth sitting in your garage?” Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert. “The [food] brand that you normally want may not be available. But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner,” Stanton says.

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Coronavirus Opinion: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t

There’s an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on. Now the teaser. “If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?” The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you’ll barely know the lily pads are there.

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Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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