Across Regions

Soil health and potato yield: Cultivating a sustainable future from the ground up

Lukie Pieterse highlights the critical role of soil health in sustainable potato cultivation. Beyond its nutritional value, the versatile potato thrives with nutrient-rich, structured, and disease-suppressing soil, which also aids in water management and carbon sequestration. Incorporating practices like cover cropping, crop rotation, reduced tillage, organic amendments, integrated pest management, and precision agriculture ensures robust yields. These methods, combined with traditional wisdom and modern technology, promise a productive and sustainable future for global agriculture.

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Unlocking the potential of potatoes: FAO publishes a guide for celebrating the International Day of Potato

The first International Day of Potato will be celebrated on May 30, highlighting its crucial role in fighting hunger, fostering diversity, and extending hope. The theme “Harvesting Diversity, Feeding Hope” emphasizes its importance in addressing poverty and environmental challenges with a focus on healthier consumption practices. FAO recently published an eleven page guide to the new International Day, making us aware of what each of us can do to promote sustainable potato production and consumption.

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Seeding the future: CIP and SFSA’s partnership develops climate-resilient potatoes for a warmer world

The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and International Potato Center collaborate to develop climate-resilient potato and sweetpotato varieties for tropical regions. Recent achievements include rapid breeding programs in Vietnam and innovative sweetpotato food products, signifying progress in food security and commercial benefits. Partnerships with local communities and global organizations, such as the World Food Program, enhance nutrition and empower growers. Looking ahead, strategies will adapt to urbanization challenges, ensuring sustainable agricultural practices meet future demands.

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Eco-friendly farming: Study finds fresh potato cultivation produces much less greenhouse gas emissions than cereal production

The Union of the German Potato Industry (UNIKA) and the German Potato Trade Association (DKHV) have commissioned a significant literature review focused on the carbon footprint associated with potato cultivation and processing. The review showed potatoes have a lower carbon footprint than cereals, with the potential for further reduction. This study found processing increases emissions, and variables like fertilizer use impact the footprint, highlighting the crop’s role in sustainable food production.

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TOMRA Food inaugurates new regional center in Valencia, main HUB for Southern Europe and North Africa

TOMRA Food, a leader in sorting and peeling solutions, has restructured to better serve regional markets globally. The Valencia center is key to their personalized approach, focusing on demonstrations, customer support, training, and after-sales service for EMEA. They emphasize direct customer engagement, continuous innovation, and are introducing new technologies like Spectrim X to enhance sorting efficiency and return on investment for clients.

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Potato farming under the microscope: The latest in disease detection technologies

Potato farming is integral to global agriculture, ranking fourth in food crops. It faces challenges, notably diseases caused by pathogens like fungi and viruses, leading to economic and food security issues. Innovation in disease detection through AI and deep learning, such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), is revolutionizing crop management by enabling early, accurate diagnosis and targeted treatments. Advances in drone and smartphone technology further aid in comprehensive, real-time monitoring, ushering in precision agriculture and sustainability.

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PoLoPo unveils SuperAA platform: A protein biofactory in a potato

PoLoPo introduced the SuperAA platform, turning potatoes into micro-biofactories for protein production—patatin and egg protein ovalbumin. Utilizing potatoes’ growth advantages, the platform promises economical and sustainable solutions for the food system, offering ingredients for a range of food products. With significant market potential, PoLoPo has already garnered awards and seed funding, signaling upcoming industry tests for their innovative proteins.

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Unlocking the future of agriculture: Researchers describe breakthrough techniques in cryopreservation in new e-book

Dr. Gayle Volk of the USDA-ARS and colleagues have published an e-book offering comprehensive guidance on the cryopreservation of clonally propagated plants, a key for food security. With detailed public content, including protocols and videos, it introduces methods like shoot tip cryotherapy for pathogen eradication in crops. This work holds promise for sustainable and disease-free agriculture, particularly in staple crops like potatoes.

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‘Growing smarter potatoes’: The emerging influence and potential impact of generative AI on the potato industry

Generative AI is revolutionizing potato farming by analyzing vast datasets, leading to optimized food production and sustainable agriculture. Embracing this technology promises enhanced yields, eco-friendly practices, and economic benefits, potentially transforming the potato industry into a model of innovation and food security, as Potato News Today editor and publisher Lukie Pieterse explains in this article.

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Smart phosphorus use could boost food production and protect vital reserves, study finds

Scientists from New Zealand and the UK assert that more effective use of phosphorus, a key plant growth nutrient, could extend its global reserve lifespan to 531 years. This finding from the Lincoln Science Centre and Lancaster University study, published in Nature Food, emphasizes the need for improved phosphorus management in agriculture and recommends more targeted fertilizer application, efficient formulations, and enhanced recycling from wastewater.

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Your potato story matters: Potato News Today wants to share your projects with the international potato world

Potato News Today calls on industry players to share stories of innovative projects and research to gain global exposure and knowledge sharing within the international potato community. Contributions from researchers, farmers, and enthusiasts are vital to spotlighting advancements and fostering a collaborative future. To participate, send a synopsis and images to editor Lukie Pieterse, and help enrich the industry’s narrative.

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Rethinking soil fumigation: A new study explores its impact on agricultural sustainability

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied the effects of soil fumigation on agricultural sustainability, focusing on potato fields in Wisconsin. The study, which analyzed various indicators of soil health, found that fumigation’s impact varies significantly by soil type, enhancing outcomes in sandy soils but not in loamy soils. The research, published in Field Crops Research, emphasizes the role of soil microbial diversity in agricultural productivity and calls for tailored soil management practices to support sustainable agriculture.

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‘Drip by drip’: Engel Louwes’s innovative approach to sustainable potato farming with drip irrigation

Engel Louwes, a distinguished potato industry consultant, drives sustainability in agriculture through adopting drip irrigation. Specializing with 40 years of experience, Louwes’ career began in the 80s with companies like HZPC. His collaboration with Polish potato farmer Szymon Cena has become a hallmark project. Successfully introducing drip irrigation for potatoes in Poland, Louwes now aims to replicate this in India.

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Bayer pilots unique generative AI tool for agriculture

Bayer has launched a pilot for a GenAI system, developed with proprietary data and validated by agronomists, to rapidly provide expert agronomic advice. A collaborative effort with Microsoft and EY, this tool offers a quicker response to farmers’ queries compared to current methods. It aims to enhance product development, democratize agronomic knowledge, and improve global food security. Bayer plans to widen the pilot to more users, including direct queries on farm data.

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Breeding the super spud: How scientists are striving to create climate-resilient potatoes

The ADAPT project explores breeding resilient potatoes through genetics. Researchers have discovered how the SP6A protein triggers potato formation and how high temperatures disrupt this process. By manipulating genes related to SP6A, they’ve produced potatoes that grow earlier and in greater numbers, even in adverse conditions. Findings on the GERMIN3 gene also contribute to improved potato yield by managing sugar supply during growth. Such advances aim at securing food production despite climate challenges.

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A united front against malnutrition: WFP and CIP renew partnership for nutritional innovation

The World Food Programme and the International Potato Center have renewed their collaboration with a four-year MOU to fight hunger by focusing on research and innovation in nutritious crops. This includes expanding school meals in Kenya to 10 million children and utilizing biofortified foods like Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato. The partnership also emphasizes preventive nutrition and sustainable solutions through strategic alliances and rigorous research.

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WMO: Climate change indicators reached record, ‘off the charts’ levels in 2023

The World Meteorological Organization’s 2023 report reveals unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases, heat, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise, leading to extreme weather events and significant economic damage. It confirmed 2023 as the warmest year on record, exacerbating global food insecurity. UN Secretary-General highlights accelerating climate changes as ‘chart-busting’ trends.

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Solynta’s strategic transformation: Embracing a seed-driven future in potato farming

Solynta, a Dutch hybrid potato seed company, has rebranded to ‘Solynta – true potato seeds’ to align with its market strategy. The company, leading in hybrid potato breeding tech, offers seeds that produce disease-resistant potatoes, enhancing sustainability. With global patents and new leadership, Solynta has expanded trials and partnerships in 40 countries, reinforcing its commitment to food security and providing disease-free seeds to farmers worldwide.

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Potato farming reimagined: Navigating the future of potato production with advanced technologies

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today, elucidates the agricultural revolution transforming potato farming. The advancement integrates drones and AI, creating a synergy between traditional methods and technology. This modern approach optimizes aspects like irrigation and pest control, leading to sustainable practices and higher yields. Collaborative efforts, including enhanced accessibility and training, are key to overcoming technical and financial hurdles. These innovations promise to redefine the potato industry as we know it.

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The future of potato consumption: Trends in fast food and fine dining

The potato’s journey from its Andean origins to a global staple showcases its agricultural, cultural, and culinary impact. Initially spread across Europe in the 16th century, this versatile crop now graces both fast-food menus and fine dining tables worldwide. Its adaptability, nutritional value, and potential for culinary innovation keep it relevant amid shifts towards sustainability, plant-based diets, and technological advancements in agriculture and cooking. The potato’s story reflects human innovation and resilience, with an ongoing global odyssey that continues to evolve.

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Potash: The unsung hero in potato farming’s success story

Globally, the potato relies on potash, a potassium variant crucial for high yield and quality. Potash optimizes water use, enhancing drought resistance and plant vigor, and is vital for nutrient transport and starch accumulation in potatoes. Deficient crops show reduced growth and poor tuber quality. Best potash management practices include precise application and exploring technological innovations. Advancements in precision agriculture, enhanced-efficiency fertilizers, soil health, nanotechnology, and genetics are reshaping potash use, contributing to sustainable potato farming.

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The digital eye in potato breeding: How machine vision is shaping the future of spuds

A team of U.S. scientists published an innovative cost-effective phenotyping strategy to improve potato breeding in the Plant Phenome Journal. This scalable, machine vision technology assesses size, shape, and color of potatoes with high precision, streamlining the breeding process. This AI-driven method, also capable of detecting defects and inferring weight, offers a new approach to selecting and cultivating superior potato varieties, significantly advancing the field.

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Celebrating the humble spud: World Potato Congress and FAO to launch the first International Day of the Potato

The World Potato Congress, with FAO’s support, inaugurated International Day of the Potato on May 30th to celebrate this crucial food source. Recognizing the potato’s role in feeding billions, the UN declared the day officially. The 2024 event theme “Harvesting Diversity – Feeding Hope” emphasizes its importance in fighting hunger and urges global engagement through education and a social media hashtag campaign.

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Record-breaking heat: February 2024 declared hottest on record

February 2024 set a chilling record as the warmest February in history. Continuing a nine-month streak, temperatures were 1.77°C above the pre-industrial average and 0.81°C higher than recent decades’ norm. Record ocean warmth exacerbates the crisis, with the potential for more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and disrupted ecosystems. Scientists stress the severe, costly consequences of denying and delaying action on human-driven climate change.

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Celebrating women in the potato industry: The inspirational stories of New Zealand’s Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay

On International Women’s Day on March 8, we honor Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay for their leadership in New Zealand’s potato industry. Pye excels in multifaceted roles, including directorships and council positions, prioritizing inclusivity and diversity. McKay, co-owner of Alps Seeds Ltd, innovates in seed potato production. Both faced challenges but persevere, inspiring women to engage in agriculture’s diverse opportunities. Their stories embody the empowerment of women and their critical influence in shaping the future of the global potato industry.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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