The UN has designated May 30 as International Day of Potato in a bid to stress the vegetable’s global importance for food security. The move was initiated by Peru and builds on the International Year of Potato, observed in 2008. As a versatile, climate-friendly crop that is both nutritionally and economically valuable, potatoes play a pivotal role in addressing global hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
The World Potato Congress Inc. is hosting a webinar titled “Opening the Black Box of Losses in the Potato Value Chain” on December 12, 2023. Presented by Luciana Delgado, the webinar aims to address the significant issue of food loss and waste in food production. Delgado’s experience spans agribusiness, agronomy, and food losses, making her insights particularly valuable for this topic. The webinar will also introduce an app designed for efficient measurement of food losses at the producer level.
The United Potato Growers of Canada’s recent update reveals a complex global potato market. Canada’s stable production contrasts with the U.S.’s surplus and aggressive pricing, especially in Idaho. Europe faces challenges with unprecedented rainfall affecting the harvest. Surpluses in North America and difficulties in Europe present potential market opportunities. The industry is navigating these varied dynamics, with Canada and the U.S. possibly benefiting from the current global situation.
HarvestEye, originally designed for potatoes, has expanded its capabilities to include onions, offering growers a more advanced harvest monitoring tool. This system, attachable to harvesting or grading equipment, provides detailed insights into crop size, shape, and distribution, aiding in optimal harvest timing for maximum profit. The upgraded HarvestEye 2.0 features enhanced software and hardware for quicker, more precise data collection.
Canadian potato growers are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor and predict their crops’ nutritional needs in real time. The new technology involves using a portable optical sensor to quickly assess potato field nutrient values. The technology utilises machine learning algorithms trained on historical data, thereby providing near real-time evaluations of plant nutritional requirements. This method improves fertilizer application efficiency, optimising yield and quality while maintaining environmental balance.
A BBC Ideas video underlines the importance of soil, often overlooked despite its crucial role in life on Earth. The soil hosts an estimated 50,000 species of microscopic organisms per gram, forming a complex ecosystem of mutual benefit between creatures like earthworms, microorganisms, and plants. Soil growth is slow, taking over 100 years to form just half a centimeter. Despite being a valuable carbon store and a vital part of Earth’s nitrogen and carbon cycle, it is under threat due to intensive farming, chemical contamination, and urbanization.
Eight new projects across nine countries: PepsiCo expands its Positive Agriculture Outcomes initiative
PepsiCo has unveiled the third year of its global agriculture initiative, the Positive Agriculture Outcomes (PAO) Accelerator, endorsing eight more projects in nine nations. Aimed at addressing pressing agricultural issues, the initiative propels PepsiCo’s pep+ agenda. The PAO Accelerator pledges co-investment to local farms to expedite various Positive Agriculture projects and supports agri-tech startups with scalable products or technologies.
The Soil Health Institute and McCain Foods hosted a panel discussion on the integration of cover crops into potato farming systems. Panelists, who represented diverse geographies, outlined four principles: know your goal, don’t seek perfection, view it as an investment, and consult experts. Beyond soil coverage, cover crops can enhance soil health, attract beneficial insects and even provide livestock feed.
Due to the world’s population reaching 8 billion, there is a high demand for food security. The potato could be key in meeting this need. However, its production is declining and methods to increase yield are environmentally damaging. This article by By Prof Lucy Moleleki at the University of Pretoria in South Africa highlights the advantages of crop rotation as an effective, eco-friendly way to control pathogens and optimize yields.
McDonald’s, a leading global fast-food chain, has displayed its dominance by serving 70 million customers daily, exceeding the populations of countries like France, the UK, Italy, Argentina, Canada, and Poland. With over 40,275 outlets worldwide, McDonald’s has significantly outpaced its nearest competitor, Subway. In 2022, the US, the birthplace of McDonald’s, generated $9.42 billion in revenue, while international markets collectively contributed about $11.16 billion. McDonald’s success is attributed to aggressive marketing and customer engagement through the McDonald’s Rewards program.
Rob Sears, a PhD student at the University of Tennessee, developed a potato plant that glows green in response to gamma radiation, serving as a natural radiation detector. This phytosensor is ideal for widespread use due to potatoes’ resilience and adaptability. The innovation offers a simple, cost-effective method for radiation monitoring, potentially enhancing safety in nuclear energy contexts. As nuclear energy continues to be used across the world, there is an increased demand for effective and easily accessible radiation detection methods.
The World Potato Congress Inc. announces a webinar featuring WPC President Dr. Peter VanderZaag and Dr. André Devaux, focusing on the role of potatoes in global food security. The event, scheduled for November 28, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, will highlight the potato’s status as the world’s third most important food crop, its growing significance in developing regions, and the importance of scientific innovation for enhancing yield. Success stories and strategies for international collaboration in potato production will also be discussed.
At Agritechnica 2023, Bayer showcased its commitment to digital farming for regenerative agriculture. Highlighting AI and data-driven precision farming, Bayer presented FieldView, a leading digital platform, and new products like FieldView Cab for Android. Their “Magic” series offers advanced field insights. Bayer’s collaboration with Microsoft in developing AgPowered Services and the Azure Data Manager for Agriculture further underscores their commitment to advancing agriculture through technology.
The European Commission plans to extend the use of glyphosate, a controversial chemical herbicide, across the European Union for an additional 10 years. This decision follows the inability of the 27 EU member states to reach a consensus on whether to prolong its use. Glyphosate, a key ingredient in products like Roundup, has been a subject of intense debate over its potential carcinogenic properties and environmental impact. The agroindustry sector says there are no viable alternatives.
‘From Pampas to Progress’: Argentinian crop specialist shares insights into ecologically intensified cropping systems
In the latest Yara Crop Nutrition podcast, the presenters delve into the heart of modern agriculture with Dr. Fernando Garcia, a renowned expert in soil fertility and crop nutrition, and Free Professor at the College of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Dr Garcia highlights several innovative practices that are being developed and implemented in Argentina, such as precision agriculture, drones, and satellite imagery to monitor crop health and optimize inputs.
This article, based on research by Stephen A. Fleming and Jenny R. Morris at Traverse Science in Illinois, challenges the negative perception of potatoes, focusing on their nutritional value and health impact. It argues that potatoes are high-quality carbohydrates, comparable to legumes and grains. The study highlights the importance of preparation methods and dietary context, showing that potatoes can contribute positively to a balanced diet and should not be excluded based on their glycemic index alone.
CHAP and Bactobio are hosting a free webinar, “Potato Late Blight: Microbial Solutions for Farmers,” on December 4th, 2023. This event features experts discussing innovative strategies against potato late blight, covering topics from bioinformatics to soil microbiome studies. Aimed at farmers, researchers, and agronomists, the webinar addresses various challenges and possible solutions. Registration is now available on Eventbrite. The insights gained here could be instrumental in shaping future farming practices and strategies in the fight against potato late blight.
China’s potato cultivation research has brought significant benefits to Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries. This project involves academic exchanges, collaborative research, and technology transfer, aiming to improve potato yields and ensure food security. It represents a part of China’s efforts to strengthen ties with BRI nations through sustainable agricultural development, showcasing the practical advantages of international cooperation within the BRI framework.
Jacob Vanderschaaf, a seasoned potato industry veteran, warns of a potential ‘sunset’ in agriculture – a decline due to unsustainable practices. He contrasts this with a ‘sunrise’ scenario, advocating for a sustainable future through organic and regenerative farming. Vanderschaaf calls for collective action among farmers, consumers, and policymakers to embrace eco-friendly methods, ensuring a thriving agricultural legacy for future generations.
In a groundbreaking new study, scientists from the University of Minnesota, including Prof. Chengyan Yue, Vanessa Kambi, and Dr. Lauran Shannon, are surveying global growers on true potato seed (TPS) usage, a promising yet under-researched alternative to traditional tuber seeds. The survey aims to gather insights into growers’ preferences and successful strategies, with significant potential to transform potato farming practices. The study’s findings, expected to influence agricultural practices and policies, will be publicly shared post-research.
A 10-time Potato Expo attendee and frequent stage speaker, Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets, called into the Eye on Potatoes podcast to discuss the state of European and global potato markets, processing trends across the world, and his love of all things potatoes. Cedric previewed his upcoming presentation for the Potato Business Summit, Jan. 10 in Austin, Texas, during which he’ll discuss the remarkable post-pandemic growth in the global demand for potatoes and potato products.
Renaissance BioScience has partnered with Certis Belchim to create a sustainable biopesticide using innovative RNA interference technology. Their joint development agreement focuses on developing a yeast-based RNAi biopesticide targeting a specific agricultural pest. This collaboration aims to produce a highly effective plant protection product that balances crop safety with environmental and biodiversity conservation.
Royal HZPC Group is set to revolutionize potato research with a new universal variety set for academic institutions, launching on November 3, 2023. Available from January 1, 2024, within the EU, this set offers diverse in vitro plantlets to expedite research. It embodies Royal HZPC’s commitment to sustainable potato breeding and global food supply, inviting collaboration to advance knowledge and improve crop understanding. More information is available at www.hzpc.com/96.
AI-based sorting technology: TOMRA Food wins international FoodTec award for foreign material identification
TOMRA Food has been awarded a silver International FoodTec Award for its AI-powered Foreign Material Identification system, which enhances food safety and processing efficiency. The system uses deep learning and cloud technology to improve sorting and grading accuracy in the food industry, particularly for potatoes. The technology allows for better decision-making in sorting, higher recovery of good products, and more precise grading. Integrated with TOMRA Insight, it provides actionable data for process optimization and performance enhancement.