News April 2024

German potato industry champions sustainability and reduced bureaucracy ahead of EU elections

At the German Potato Trade Association’s 18th annual meeting in Regensburg, key discussions led by President Thomas Herkenrath focused on shaping EU policies to benefit the potato sector. The DKHV called for reduced bureaucracy, increased research support, eased trade barriers, and sustainable practices before the 2024 EU elections. Honorary board appointments celebrated industry contributions, underscoring the need for innovation-driven agricultural leadership.

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Win big this spring: The Little Potato Company debuts first-ever in-store and online sweepstakes

The Little Potato Company launches “The Little Springtime Campaign and Sweepstakes” with a chance to win $1,000 in groceries until May 15, 2024. Open to consumers in the U.S. and Canada, the campaign aims to promote its convenient, no-prep-required Little Potatoes. Supported by in-store, social media, and paid online ads, the initiative seeks to enhance family meals and highlight spring recipes.

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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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HyFun Foods appoints industry veteran to spearhead sustainable fresh produce initiative, HyFarm

HyFun Foods appoints Soundararadjane S as CEO of HyFarm, an initiative focusing on sustainable agriculture and empowering Indian farmers. Soundararadjane’s 30 years of experience and strategic vision for scaling sustainable practices aim to revamp the fresh produce sector. HyFarm will innovate the supply chain, use regenerative agriculture, and expand to 30,000 farmers by 2030. Leveraging partnerships and connecting with global markets, HyFun Foods also plans to diversify beyond potatoes into other vegetable exports.

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From field to storage: GB Potatoes leads the way in refining potato storage practices with innovative project

GB Potatoes, with Potato Storage Insight and SDF Agriculture, is leading the Strategic SPot storage project to improve potato storage methods for better cost efficiency and product quality. Their approach includes hands-on research and demonstrations. An important event on May 14th at Winters Lane Storage Ltd. will offer expert advice and insights on storage optimizations, cold storage strategies, design improvements, and variety performance. Attendees can also enjoy a showcase of partners and visit a processing store.

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Potato Sustainability Alliance welcomes new member companies and grower associates

The Potato Sustainability Alliance has introduced a new Grower Associate category, and welcomed the Soil Health Institute, Walther Farms and DeGroot’s Vegetable Farms as members. PSA, having worked for 12 years on potato sustainability, provides a platform for all value chain actors to craft sustainability standards, and encourages more members to join at potatosustainability.org. The new members contribute efforts towards soil health and diversified vegetable farming.

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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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Jersey Royal potato farmers expected to struggle meeting demand this year

Recent wet weather has impacted Jersey Royal potato farmers, with projections of struggling to meet demand due to waterlogged fields and potential crop rot. The first harvest in April is jeopardized, and farmers like Paul Carre faced planting delays. Phil Le Maistre anticipates a 20% decrease in his export crop, hinting at broader UK produce challenges as well.

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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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A giant in the making: Somos Hijolusa marks a new era in the Spanish potato and horticultural sector

Patatas Hijolusa, Agrícola Villena, and Natuber have merged, forming Somos Hijolusa, a Spanish potato and horticulture giant with potential earnings of over €200 million. This traditional, family-rooted industry is evolving through strategic partnerships, aiming for national dominance and global market entry. The union signifies an innovative step for firms embracing sustainable agriculture and cooperative growth to succeed in the modern economy.

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Prince Edward Island potato farmers gear up for planting season despite challenges

As spring nears, P.E.I. farmers in Canada prepare for planting amid challenges like erratic weather, high costs for fertilizer and fuel, and a shortage of skilled labor to handle advanced machinery, as reported by CBC’s Sheehan Desjardins. Rising supply costs and an uncertain climate impact planning, yet farmers are optimistic, diversifying crops, seeking alternatives to costly inputs, and training recruits to surmount these hurdles for a successful planting season.

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AVR celebrates 175 years with limited edition PUMA 4 harvester and a year of festivities

In its 175th year, Belgian company AVR celebrates with a limited edition PUMA 4.0, a blend of tradition and technology. Starting as a small forge in 1849, AVR evolved into a leader in potato harvesting machinery. The anniversary PUMA 4.0 symbolizes this legacy, alongside a series of events thanking its community. With over 550 PUMA harvesters worldwide, AVR’s impact is substantial, promising continued innovation and sustainability for the future.

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New horizons in frozen cuisine: McCain Foods and Strong Roots expand their strategic partnership

McCain Foods has reinforced its alliance with Dublin-based Strong Roots, aiming to offer more sustainable, vegetable-rich frozen foods globally. With investment since 2021, McCain seeks to transform the freezer aisle with Strong Roots’ planet-friendly dishes. Their partnership focuses on growth and sustainability, with initiatives like a brand advisory council and adherence to regenerative agriculture practices. McCain’s strategic moves include recent acquisitions to diversify and enhance their offerings.

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Finnish Potato Association integrates into Europatat, enhancing European sector synergy

Europatat has expanded its reach by welcoming Finland’s PAYR, the comprehensive Potato Sector Association, as its 21st member. PAYR, formed from a merger of Finnish potato organizations in 2015, aims to boost sales, support potato research, and secure project funding. With a diverse 9-member board, PAYR strengthens international ties in the potato industry and prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2025.

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British growers warned of dual threat to potato crops: Wireworm risk rises amid wet soils

Growers are warned of increased wireworm damage risks in potato crops due to wet soils, potentially exacerbated by reduced autumn cultivations and cover crops. Syngenta’s Andy Cunningham notes severe weather has limited Integrated Pest Management (IPM) options. Trials show that Nemathorin treatment at planting can significantly reduce wireworm damage and limit Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) multiplication, offering substantial yield increases and financial gains over untreated or alternative treatments.

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PepsiCo’s Veurne plant in Belgium embraces cutting-edge automation for crisp production

PepsiCo is transforming its Belgian Veurne factory, collaborating with Mecalux to install a cutting-edge Automated Storage and Retrieval System for managing 2 million daily bags of crisps. Incorporating a Mecalux Automated Pallet Shuttle and a seamless 100-meter-long conveyor, this overhaul, complemented by Mecalux’s Easy WMS, aims to boost efficiency and sustainability in PepsiCo’s large-scale snack production.

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1,4GROUP reinforces North American potato industry: Shifts CIPC production to the U.S.

1,4GROUP has relocated chlorpropham production to the US following its European ban, ensuring supply for North American customers. The EPA and PMRA have approved the new US production site, maintaining the availability of this crucial sprout inhibitor. CEO Elfering expresses gratitude to the agencies and reaffirms commitment to quality products for the potato industry.

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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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Kayla Spawton spearheads groundbreaking work at U of I’s state-of-the-art seed potato facility

Kayla Spawton leads the University of Idaho’s Seed Potato Germplasm Program, critical to Idaho’s key industry, with 60% of U.S. potatoes traceable back to their lab. The state’s largest crop earned $1.3 billion in 2023. Spawton, a plant pathology Ph.D., manages a state-of-the-art facility, focusing on disease-free potato plantlet and mini-tuber production. Her plans include efficiency research and implementing cryogenic preservation to advance the program.

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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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Maximize potato yields with Riegogel water-retaining

Riegogel introduces a biodegradable gel that retains water for up to 45 days, boosting potato crop yields by up to 20% and reducing irrigation needs by 50%. It combats drought, enhances soil health, and efficiently utilizes water and nutrients. Proven effective in trials, it offers a sustainable solution for various crops, aligning with climate resilience efforts.

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‘Terra Carbono’: Pioneering a greener future in the potato industry

Terra Carbono, an innovative Hungarian ag-tech company, focuses on sustainable potato cultivation, aiming to reduce carbon footprints and improve agricultural productivity. They create biodegradable, carbon-negative products that boost yield, conserve water, and minimize chemical use while enhancing soil health. Terra Carbono is engaged in several partnerships for community betterment and sustainable practices.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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