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.”
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.
APHIS issues final federal order for import of P.E.I. table potatoes, CFIA preparing to certify exports soon
On Friday the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued its final federal order on Prince Edward Island potato imports, clearing the way for exports from the Canadian province. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) welcomed the news.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, yesterday issued the following statement regarding the announcement that the United States will soon resume imports of Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into the continental U.S. with reasonable science-based conditions.
U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Angus King (I-Maine) and U.S. Congressmen Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) led 30 of their Congressional colleagues in potato-producing states in a bipartisan, bicameral letter calling on the USDA to press its counter-agency in Mexico to honor and expedite the U.S.-Mexico trade deal restoring U.S. fresh potato exports to Mexico.
The National Potato Council (NPC) today released a statement in response to news of the resumption of trade of table stock potatoes from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, into Puerto Rico. “We trust USDA and CFIA have put plans in place to strictly prohibit the resale of fresh potatoes to the mainland in order to prevent the potential spread of disease to U.S. potato farms,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the resumption of tablestock potatoes from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, into Puerto Rico. USDA has determined the importation of these potatoes under specified conditions poses little risk of introducing potato wart disease, a soil-borne disease that reduces yield and marketability, to Puerto Rico.
After nearly 25 years of export bans, U.S. potato farmers could begin to distribute and sell more fresh potatoes across all of Mexico by early 2022. American potato farmers and exporters currently are barred from selling fresh potatoes in Mexico due to restrictions by the Mexican government, namely that U.S. growers can only sell them within about a 16-mile zone across the Mexican border.
The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (CPAC) recently hosted a site visit by Mexican authorities for the purpose of U.S. exporters fully gaining fresh potato access to Mexico. As Spudman magazine reports, this site visit is one of the final requirements as the Mexican government moves toward restoring market access for U.S. fresh potatoes.
Wada Farms, one of America’s largest grower-shippers-marketers of fresh potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes for retail buyers and the food distribution industries and The Produce Moms, a leading digital influencer of all things fruits and vegetables, have moved their long-time partnership onto the retail shelf with a new co-branded potato package.
The Irish Farmers Association reports that retail demand has eased slightly, although colder weather forecasted should improve trade again in Ireland. The food service sector continues to prosper, despite it traditionally being a quieter period. Prices for the fresh sector in Europe are currently described as holding or slightly easier. Export demand is very quiet.
Waitrose & Partners is set to be the first major retailer to sign up to The UK Robust Potato Pledge, which will see the group move away from the use of copper-based fungicides on organic fresh potatoes in order to combat late blight. According to a report by European Supermarket Magazine, the group aims to achieve this by growing and selling only resistant or ‘robust’ organic fresh potatoes by 2026.
Several key UK retailers have pledged to sell disease resistant organic potatoes, boosting sustainability and farm resilience for producers. Organic certification body the Soil Association developed its ‘UK Robust Potato Pledge 2021’ in a bid to help growers move away from potatoes that are susceptible to blight. Signees to the pledge have agreed to favour organic spuds that have been bred to be blight resistant.
As MountainKing readies for its fall harvest, early tests from its fields in Colorado’s San Luis Valley offer encouraging signs for several of the brand’s gourmet varieties including its yellow-flesh varietals. “The 2021 crop outlook is very bright,” says Andreas Trettin, director of marketing for MountainKing Potatoes. “The quality is extraordinary,” he says.
The transition from old crop to new crop potatoes is taking place right now, and two potato industry observers report that expected reduced fresh shipments during the 2021-22 marketing year should provide a firm market. Mark Klompien, president and CEO of the United Potato Growers of America For the 2020-21 season, Klompien said that fresh potato pricing seems to be finding stable footing this fall.
In India, in North Bengal and in the Bihar regions, potato farmers have long awaited an early bulking potato variety with better storability to cater for evolving grower needs. Until now, the absence of such a variety with this unique combination of characteristics has left farmers either to miss the early market opportunity to reap better prices or book higher losses during storage. Red Candy, a new variety launched by Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, aptly addresses the potato growers’ needs and help them to reap the twin benefits of early bulking with better storability.
According to a market report issued by Potatoes USA, potato sales declined in dollars by 10.5% and in volume by 15.5% during April – June of 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020. However, when sales are compared to that same timeframe in 2019, sales increased in value and volume. Consumers bought 53 million more pounds of potatoes, demonstrating demand for potatoes is elevated in grocery stores.
“We are changing how we go to shows and even how we market ourselves as a whole, because everybody always views us as onions and potatoes, but we do a lot of other items,” said Joe Esta, vice president of Wada Farms Marketing Group in Idaho Falls, ID. Wada Farms will be featuring its chipping potato, a round white potato marketed under the label Big Joe’s Chippers at the PMA Foodservice Expo in Monterey.
This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 5 thousand ha (6.5 percent) to 72 thousand ha. It also declined in 2020. Areas in use for seed and starch potatoes have increased slightly over the past twelve months, by nearly 1 percent each. The share of seed and starch potatoes in the total potato cultivation area has continued to rise slightly over the past year.
It was announced last week that Mexican Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos Arámbula is expected to travel to Washington, D.C. in early August to meet with his American counterpart, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The meeting is expected to include a discussion of the decades-long issue concerning Mexico’s ban on the full importation of fresh U.S. potatoes. Today, NPC and state potato organizations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Tai, urging them to “maintain a ‘trust-but-verify’ stance with Mexico” as they continue their negotiations.
Farmers may have to cut the volume of Jersey Royal potatoes grown in a season if the Island’s biggest agricultural crop is to maintain its premium status, an industry leader has said. The Jersey Royal has dominated the UK early season fresh produce market for over a century – but farming developments in the potato sector, stiff competition from other agricultural regions and changing consumer habits threaten its market lead.
Potatoes are the top side dish in Belgium. On an average day in 2020, 41% of Belgians ate these (incl. fries). A lot of people were already eating potatoes at home. But, due to COVID-19 and its related measures, that rose in 2020. That’s according to a Flemish Agri and Fisheries Marketing Center (VLAM) press release. In 2020, home consumption of fresh potatoes increased by eight percent. That ended the downward trend in in-home consumption.
Smaller pack sizes and new packaging formats that allow potatoes to be microwaved for convenience, are among the industry trends being embraced by K&K Produce, which is based in Fingal, Co. Dublin. Established by Tommy and Deirdre Kennedy in 1984, K&K Produce is a family affair, with their three children, Thomas, Michael and Lisa, all involved in the business.
Tesco has become the first retailer in Ireland to make its packaging for 1kg new season potatoes fully recyclable while also reducing the amount of paper used in its 2.5kg potato packaging. This step change on packaging will commence on a 12-week trial basis in 100 stores, with plans to roll out the changes to more products if successful. As one of Ireland’s favourite grocery items, this change will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste.
Sam Dennigan and Company is one of Ireland’s leading food manufacturers, sourcing, shipping, distributing and marketing over 100,000 tonnes of fresh produce each year to customers across Ireland, the UK and Europe. In September 2020 Sam Dennigan and Company saw demand for its fresh potatoes leap by a fifth. The company invested in a new, state-of-the-art packing line designed and installed by Haith Group to meet the increased demand.
In the latest episode of Potato-cast, a Potatoes USA podcast, Natalia Cervantes, Potatoes USA Conversation Architect, is joined by her guest Kayla Dome, Potatoes USA Global Retail Marketing Manager. Kayla points out that fresh potatoes are still driving larger baskets at retail outlets. She says March 2021 was expected to decline in sales compared to 2020 but specifically online grocery sales saw a 43% increase in online sales compared to 2020, a $9.3 billion dollar sales increase for that online category.