Africa

UK potato supplier Branston donates £10k to support potato production among local farmers in Uganda

Branston Ltd, a UK potato supplier, donated £10k to support potato production in Alito, Uganda, enhancing food security and local farmers’ incomes. Alito’s agricultural college educates farmers, supplying students with potato seeds upon graduation. Alongside funding, Branston will construct water lagoons for irrigation and a test site for potato variety and fertilizer trials. Over 100 students and staff participated in the project.

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How to make irrigation water as effective as rainwater: This new technology might be the answer

Rainmaker.Earth, a South African-based technology company, is revolutionizing agricultural irrigation by mimicking natural rainfall, improving water and soil quality. Their advanced oxidation process enhances water absorption, reduces runoff, and boosts soil health, benefiting high-demand crops like potatoes. This sustainable approach supports biodiversity, reduces chemical use, and promotes efficient water use. Rainmaker.Earth is expanding globally, offering farmers a sustainable, effective irrigation solution that enhances crop yield and quality.

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International Potato Center launches ambitious survey to revolutionize potato varieties in the Global South

The International Potato Center, backed by CGIAR, launched a survey to improve food security in the Global South by developing resilient potato varieties. It seeks data from various agricultural stakeholders to tailor breeding programs to regional needs, thus enhancing yield and sustainability. This effort combines market needs analysis, sustainable practice evaluation, and understanding farmer and consumer preferences to address climate impact on food systems.

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Transforming Uganda’s potato value chain: A Kilimo Kisasa success story of sustainable production

Potatoes are key for food security and income in Uganda, with demand growing for Dutch varieties favored by the processing industry. Kilimo Kisasa Limited is changing the Ugandan agricultural scene by locally multiplying these desirable varieties, therefore offering a cost-effective and sustainable option for farmers. Through partnerships, Kilimo Kisasa is advancing sustainable practices, enhancing food security, and increasing farmer incomes.

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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 are introducing new technologies like Spectrim X to enhance sorting efficiency and return on investment for clients.

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Potato market dynamics: Egypt’s currency woes, Ukraine’s import surge

Currency devaluation in Egypt has cheapened its potato exports, spiking international market demand but raising domestic supply concerns. Meanwhile, Ukraine experiences a market downturn with rising potato imports, mainly from the EU, lowering local prices. These cases reflect the global potato market’s susceptibility to economic, policy, and trade variables, highlighting the necessity for sustainable agriculture and resilient economic strategies.

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GM potatoes to be released to Nigerian farmers in 2025

Beginning in the 2025 planting season, Nigerian farmers will have access to new late blight-resistant potato varieties, according to Dr. Charles Amadi of NRCRI. This development is part of the USAID-funded GBPP, led by Michigan State University, in collaboration with multiple partners. The varieties promise to address the blight that devastates over 90% of crops in Nigeria.

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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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Kenya’s breakthrough with biotech: Embracing GMO potatoes for a better future

Kenya’s recent agricultural initiatives include the adoption of genetically modified organisms to address climate change and food security issues. The article by James Kamuye Kataru discusses Kenya’s significant step towards innovation with the introduction of a late blight resistant biotech potato, developed through a collaboration involving KALRO, the International Potato Center, and Michigan State University. This advancement aims to increase farmer incomes, reduce fungicide use, improve crop yields, and set a pioneering example for other agricultural nations.

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The hidden factor in potato freshness: Magnesium’s key role in reducing storage loss

A study by researchers from Stellenbosch University, financed by Potatoes South Africa, and published in the South African magazine CHIPS, finds that low magnesium levels in potato tubers cause significant moisture loss during storage, especially in sandy soils of the Sandveld and Koue Bokkeveld regions. The research reveals that maintaining a proper magnesium balance is crucial for potato post-harvest quality and provides insight for growers on effective storage and marketing strategies.

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‘She Feeds the World’: How PepsiCo Egypt’s program is transforming rural women’s lives

PepsiCo Egypt celebrated the fourth harvest of its “She Feeds the World” program, supporting 10,000 female farmers. Launched in 2020, the initiative empowers rural women in agriculture, aligning with pep+ and Egypt 2030 Vision, aiming for self-sufficiency and enhanced living conditions. The program has touched 390,000 lives and promotes economic empowerment and community development. The stories of these resilient women serve as a beacon of inspiration and a call to action for continued progress in the agricultural sector.

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Pepper ringspot virus outbreak prompts Zimbabwe to restrict potato imports from South Africa

Zimbabwe restricts import of potatoes from South Africa due to an outbreak of Pepper ringspot virus (PepRSV). The Ministry of Lands aims to protect the local potato industry. The International Plant Protection Convention issued a notification on the detection of PepRSV in South Africa, warning of potential negative effects on trade and export. Symptoms of PepRSV in potatoes include brown lines, rings, and flecks, with potential economic losses due to quality issues.

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‘Water wisdom’: How Agrico irrigation systems transform potato farming in South Africa’s Western Cape

The article “Rooted in success: Agrico offers potato irrigation solutions,” spotlights a collaboration between South African potato farm Stephan & Seun and Agrico, an irrigation solutions provider. The partnership, which began in the 1970s, uses Agrico’s advanced technology for efficient water management in potato farming, leading to cost savings and power efficiency. The system’s adaptivity to varying pressure requirements ensures optimal operation even with a change in topography.

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Crop rotation increases good bacteria to promote plant health

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.

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World Potato Congress bolsters global expertise with new International Advisors

The World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) welcomes Douglas Harley and Derek Roulston as International Advisors. Harley, from Alexander Harley Seeds Ltd. in the UK, brings extensive experience in potato breeding and global export. Roulston, with a background in farming and development in Africa, contributes deep knowledge in potato seed production and international consulting. Their expertise is expected to greatly benefit the WPC, especially in the lead-up to the 12th Congress in Adelaide in 2024.

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Global experts rally for sustainable food security solutions at symposium

At the Food Systems Transformation symposium, experts highlighted the urgent need for a strategic overhaul of global food security methods. The event, hosted by Agrico and SeedNL, emphasized the importance of sustainable, inclusive food systems and the role of strategic policy in leveraging food as a geopolitical asset. Discussions covered the necessity of local focus, innovation, and multi-stakeholder cooperation, with a special mention of Africa’s challenges in value addition due to trade laws.

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Kenyan scientists developed new GM potato variety free from late blight disease

Kenyan researchers have engineered a blight-resistant GM potato, potentially transforming agriculture by increasing yields and minimizing pesticide use. The “Global Biotech Potato Partnership” project has shown promising results in confined field trials across Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria. The collaborative project, after promising trials, anticipates boosting harvests from 10 to 40 tonnes per hectare. Awaiting regulatory approval, this innovation could significantly enhance food security and sustainability, marking a major advance in biotech crops.

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From dependency to autonomy: Zimbabwe’s potato success story

Zimbabwe has achieved full self-sufficiency in table potato production, thanks to a government-led import substitution policy initiated in 2010. This policy banned table potato imports, promoting local farming. The shift has been successful, with potato production rising from 52,000 tonnes in 2010 to 599,550 tonnes in 2022. There was a 37 percent drop in the value of seed potato imports from US$9 814 212 for the period January to August in 2022 to US$6 141 750 in the same period this year.

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Unlocking prosperity: Nigeria’s comprehensive National Potato Strategy unveiled

In October 2023, Nigeria introduced the National Potato Strategy, aiming to rejuvenate its potato industry. This strategy seeks to ensure food and nutrition security, promote trade surplus, and enhance incomes. Recognizing the challenges in the potato value chain, the plan involves collaboration among key stakeholders to maximize their combined strengths. The launch event highlighted the untapped potential of potato commercialization and emphasized the importance of quality seed access, strategic partnerships, and sector-wide coordination.

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Potato prices skyrocket in South Africa amid growing concerns about supply and food security

South African potato prices have surged, with a 10kg bag now costing R121 (6.25 euros), a 136% increase from last year, reports Carolize Jansen of FreshPlaza. Supply volumes have dropped by 46%. Other produce like bananas and pumpkins also face price hikes. Challenges such as water shortages and electricity issues plague farmers, raising concerns about food security and affordability in the region.

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TNA implements potato production lines for the Egyptian army

TNA Solutions, a food processing and packaging firm, completed a significant project for the Egyptian Army. Commissioned by the Egyptian NSPO in 2020, TNA introduced two advanced potato product production lines. The first line, for Hash Browns and Rosti, produces two metric tonnes hourly, while the second, for French Fries and other items, yields 10 metric tonnes. TNA oversees the entire process, including advanced distribution and packaging. Collaborating with Optima Solutions, TNA aids the Egyptian Ministry of Defence in self-sufficiency. The project’s June 2023 completion signifies a new era, with plans for further expansion.

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World Potato Congress celebrates and highlights potato production breakthroughs in several countries

The World Potato Congress (WPC) highlights global potato industry successes on its website. For example, In Kenya, the potato sector is evolving with increased mechanization, leading to higher yields and reduced losses. In Uganda’s Zombo District, collaborative efforts have introduced advanced agricultural practices, benefiting small-scale farmers. These stories along with others from countries like Ethiopia, the Philippines and Yemen, underscore the importance of collaboration, innovation, and knowledge-sharing in the potato industry.

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Empowering farmers: The drive for disease-resistant potatoes in Nigeria

Scientists at Nigeria’s National Roots Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) are urged to enhance potato varieties’ resistance to diseases for sustainable food security. This call was made during the Potato Green Field Day at Plateau State University, emphasizing the role of technology in boosting potato yields and farmers’ economic power. The events aim to promote new technologies and Good Agricultural Practices. Potato late blight, a significant threat in Nigeria, destroyed 32,000 hectares of potatoes in Plateau State in 2022.

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‘The story behind soft rot’: A perspective from South Africa

Potatoes in South Africa have been affected by soft rot and blackleg due to higher than usual rainfall. These bacterial diseases, first identified in 1988, thrive in anaerobic conditions, especially in wet environments. The bacteria can survive in tubers, plant debris, and various plants but not for long in soil. Infected tubers initially show no symptoms, but under conditions like waterlogging, the bacteria multiply, leading to soft rot. Transmission can occur through infested tubers, water, or mechanical means.

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Boosting agriculture: Nigeria’s ambitious five-year blueprint for increased potato production unveiled

Nigeria, in collaboration with the Green Innovation Centre and GIZ, has launched the National Potato Strategy (NPS) 2023-2028. This five-year plan, initiated in Jos, Plateau State, aims to boost export revenues and ensure food and nutritional security. The strategy focuses on stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, and enhancing livelihoods, capitalizing on Nigeria’s potential to grow potatoes commercially in 12 states.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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