News June 2024

‘Strides in fries, green in scene’: Lamb Weston unveils latest Global Sustainability Report

Lamb Weston Holdings released its fifth annual Global Sustainability Report, detailing progress in sustainability and people initiatives in fiscal year 2023. This first consolidated global report follows the company’s recent expansion in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The report highlights investments in employee wellbeing, responsible potato product manufacturing, and environmental conservation. New long-term sustainability targets and updates on 2030 goals are presented.

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Be part of change: NAPSO seeks visionary leaders in the industry to join its Central Committee

The North America Potato Storage Organization (NAPSO) is seeking representatives from various sectors of the potato industry for its Central Committee. This committee will lead initiatives to improve potato storage, enhance quality, reduce waste, and optimize energy use, ultimately benefiting sustainability and profitability. NAPSO aims to include diverse members from both the United States and Canada to foster regional collaboration. Interested parties should contact Communications Coordinator Emily Merk.

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‘HCIP210’: The new potato variety set to significantly boost incomes of smallholder farmers in tropical regions

The Syngenta Foundation and the International Potato Center teamed up with HZPC to create HCIP210, a potato variety tailored for tropical climates. The public-private partnership known as TAP5. The new variety, developed in under eight years, offers higher yields and better disease resistance compared to older European varieties. HCIP210 meets market requirements with fewer inputs, supporting sustainable agriculture and smallholder farmers in the tropics.

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NAPSO kicks off with inaugural virtual meeting, paving the way for advanced potato storage solutions

The North America Potato Storage Organization (NAPSO) held its inaugural virtual meeting on June 17, 2024, uniting industry experts dedicated to improving potato storage practices. Emphasizing the importance of efficient and sustainable storage, the founders outlined NAPSO’s mission to develop cutting-edge solutions for reducing waste, optimizing energy usage, and enhancing profitability. Future initiatives include conferences and community involvement to foster innovation and collaboration in the industry.

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PepsiCo targets 15% revenue boost for Thai contract farmers using AI and advanced farming technologies

PepsiCo is working to boost productivity among its 5,800 contract farmers in Thailand, aiming to increase revenue by 15% for 35% of these farmers by 2030. The company uses AI, drones, infrared technology, and drip irrigation to help farmers solve agricultural problems and improve yields. Challenges include climate change and rising fertiliser prices. The project spans 38,000 rai (6,000 ha) across 10 provinces.

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Daymer Ingredients to distribute Danish AKV premium potato starches in the UK

Daymer Ingredients, a British supplier, has partnered with Danish company AKV to distribute native and clean label potato starches in the UK. This collaboration underscores Daymer’s commitment to providing natural and sustainable food ingredients. AKV’s products, known for their high peak viscosity and efficient production process, will enhance various food applications. Daymer continues to pursue partnerships that promote eco-friendly and quality ingredients in the market.

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Bayer and Solynta collaborate to advance potato farming in India and Kenya with distribution of true potato seed

Bayer and Solynta have partnered to introduce true potato seed in Kenya and India, marking Bayer’s entry into the global potato seed market. This innovation allows farmers to use disease-free, durable seeds instead of traditional tubers, significantly reducing costs and improving crop resilience. Bayer will leverage its distribution networks to support smallholder farmers, enhancing food security and sustainability in the regions.

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Struggling British potato farmers make SOS appeal to ‘save our spuds’

East Anglian farmers are urging political action to safeguard the British potato amid concerns over extreme weather and rising production costs. Challenges such as drought, floods, and heavy rain have delayed the 2023 and 2024 crops. Additionally, production costs have surged by 28% over two years, putting the future of this essential crop at risk, according to the National Farmers’ Union.

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Canada’s agricultural breakthrough: Tuberosum Technologies registers first ever True Potato Seed (TPS) varieties

Tuberosum Technologies has successfully registered four new True Potato Seed (TPS) varieties in Canada, marking a first for the country. These tetraploid TPS varieties enhance disease resilience, cost efficiency, and sustainability in potato farming. According to CEO Joel Van Der Schaaf, this milestone results from years of dedicated research and aims to improve crop quality and efficiency. The registration process involved the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s rigorous standards.

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Global potato starch prices to rise in June amidst strong demand and supply chain challenges

Potato starch prices are predicted to increase globally in June due to higher demand from downstream industries, rising feedstock costs, and supply chain disruptions. As buyers anticipate even greater demand later in the year, they might increase their purchases in June. Additionally, potato harvest season and economic shifts in China and the eurozone contribute to the price rise. Shipping expenses are also expected to increase starting in June.

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Dutch firm debuts next-level conveyor belt for potato processors

Ammeraal Beltech has introduced the Ropanyl EM 8/2 00+02 light blue AS FG AM /60shD, a new food-grade conveyor belt for potato processing. This easy-to-clean, non-stick, and durable belt reduces starch adherence and cleaning time, aiming to minimize downtime and enhance productivity. The belt is designed to ensure product safety and improve production performance.

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Teagasc issues ‘red alert’ potato blight warning for Ireland

Teagasc advises Irish potato growers to immediately reassess their blight spraying methods due to emerging resistant blight populations in Ireland and Europe. Dr. Steven Kildea announced that traditional block spraying is obsolete and recommends mixing different blight chemistries and rotating them. He emphasized the accelerated evolution of blight resistance and suggested integrated pest control measures, like avoiding planting in high-risk areas, for better crop management.

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Innovation in action: Australian farmers embrace innovative nitrogen alternative to boost yields and cut pollution

Australian farmers are turning to Lono, an innovative fertiliser by Levity Crop Science, to enhance sustainability and crop yields. Extensively trialed over two years, Lono provides stabilised amine nitrogen, improving plant growth and reducing pollution. Farmers report significant benefits, including higher yields and better soil quality. Lono’s success has driven high demand among growers, making it a key part of their agricultural practices.

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McDonald’s broke advert rules claiming french fries only contain Dutch potatoes and salt

McDonald’s violated Dutch advertising regulations by claiming their fries contain only potatoes and a pinch of salt, as ruled by the Advertising Code Commission following a complaint by Foodwatch. Published in Volkskrant and aired on radio in March, the ads differed from McDonald’s website, listing additional ingredients like vegetable oil and stabilizers. McDonald’s argued full ingredient disclosure in ads isn’t required.

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Potato alarm: NFU calls for action to save the great British potato

The UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU) warns that extreme weather, rising input costs, and trade issues threaten the future of British potatoes, a beloved food staple. Potato growers face production delays due to adverse weather and high costs, risking future supply. The NFU urges the government to implement policies to ensure water access, protect against pests, and allocate a robust agricultural budget. The decrease in grower confidence and reliance on risky imports compounds the crisis.

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Potato market update: Strong demand and robust consumption in Ireland, European planting woes amidst weather issues

The latest potato market report from the Irish Farmers Association highlights the robust demand and tight stocks in Ireland, driven by unseasonably cool weather. Despite some new crops entering the market, quantities remain low, increasing demand for available stock. Quality issues like splits and cracks have also emerged. In Europe, planting progress varies, with delays and weather challenges impacting crop establishment, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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Mintec: UK potatoes at all-time highs for the second year in a row

The Mintec Benchmark for English white potatoes reached an all-time high of £750/MT on June 11th, an increase of 87.5% year-on-year. Market analyst Harry Campbell notes tight supplies will persist until the mid-July maincrop harvest. Delayed planting and lack of warm weather have kept prices elevated, marking the second year of record highs. Growers prefer higher free-buy prices over contracts due to climate impacts.

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Aussie potato growers first in world to access new fungicide to fight soil borne disease black scurf

Australian potato farmers are first globally to access Excalia, a new fungicide developed by Sumitomo Chemical Australia to combat Rhizoctonia solani. Launched in Melbourne, Excalia will be showcased at the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide. Sumitomo’s marketing manager Jock Leys highlighted its success in trials, improving yield and return on investment. The collaboration with Elders aims to ensure smooth distribution. Sumitomo will also introduce biostimulant products at the event.

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WUR participates in major international research on climate-resilient crops

The Ancient Environmental Genomics Initiative for Sustainability (AEGIS) seeks to use historical DNA to devise more resilient crops. Wageningen University & Research, along with other institutions, will utilize a 78 million euro grant to analyze ancient DNA to understand past ecosystems and crop responses to climate change. This knowledge aims to reintroduce valuable genetic traits into modern crops, enhancing their resistance to diseases and climate stress.

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Podcast: ‘From Peru to Kenya – The Potato’s Journey of Resilience’

The first episode of ‘Crop Chronicles,’ a podcast by Crop Trust, explores the global significance and history of potatoes. Traveling from the Peruvian Andes to Kenyan farmlands, the podcast discusses the resilience of potatoes, innovative farming techniques, and scientific efforts to preserve potato diversity amid climate challenges. You can listen to the 20 minute long podcast on Spotify.

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Volm Companies embraces sustainability: Key takeaways from the International Sustainability Summit and a call to action

The International Sustainability Summit in Vancouver saw industry leaders, including Volm Companies, focus on standardizing sustainability in the fresh produce sector. Highlights from Volm’s involvement include integrating sustainability into core business practices, fostering collaboration, and advocating for universal standards. Volm’s efforts include hiring dedicated staff, creating supplier codes, performing energy audits, and developing sustainable products.

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StoreGuard now available in the UK: Potato growers anticipate benefits from new technology in maintaining fry colour

Biofresh Safestore, the exclusive UK distributor for StoreGuard, prepares for its first full season after securing UK marketing rights in November 2023. StoreGuard, made by AgroFresh, uses 1-MCP to maintain potato fry colour when stored with ethylene as a sprout inhibitor. The product has shown benefits in European and UK trials, reducing weight loss and fan times, and leaving no detectable residue.

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Sizzling success: The untold story of British women entrepreneurs in fish and chip shops

An exhibition at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum in King’s Lynn explores how fish and chip shops enabled British women to run their own businesses in the late 19th century. Highlighting shops that catered to domestic schedules, the “Fish and Chips Heroes” exhibition showcases the significant societal role these shops played, particularly in towns like King’s Lynn, known for its bustling port and dense population.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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