Organizations in the News

Leadership change at the UK Potato Processors Association: John Sedgwick takes helm as Chair

John Sedgwick has been appointed as the new Board Chair of the UK Potato Processors’ Association (PPA), taking over from Dan Hewitt. With extensive experience in the potato industry, Sedgwick aims to address the sector’s challenges such as supply chain issues and economic pressures. The PPA plans to enhance its profile and showcase the benefits of its membership amidst these challenges. Sedgwick’s leadership is welcomed by PPA’s Director General, Andrew Curtis, highlighting Sedgwick’s well-recognized role within the sector.

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As the EU stalls, leading plant breeder warns that England must not let precision breeding opportunity slip

Nigel Moore highlights Britain’s opportunity to lead in plant breeding due to delays in the EU’s gene editing advancements. He expresses concerns over potential restrictive measures in the Precision Breeding Act’s secondary legislation, which may hinder the UK’s progress in agricultural innovation. Moore discusses the act’s attractiveness to investors and significant potential applications, such as enhanced crop yields. One potential application baby potatoes with ‘bunched’ root architecture which allow almost three times as many tubers to be produced from the same area of farmland.

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Ireland and Europe face challenges in potato planting due to unpredictable weather

This week, potato farmers in Ireland and Europe face significant challenges due to erratic weather, affecting planting and crop progress as reported by the IFA. In Ireland, brief dry spells were insufficient for sustaining continuous planting, leading to potential supply issues in summer. Similar issues are observed across Europe, with France and neighboring countries experiencing severe planting delays. The IFA stresses the importance of strategic planning to mitigate weather impacts on agriculture.

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IPC strengthens retail relations with new hire Matt Zapczynski in Northeast/Midwest

Matt Zapczynski has been appointed as the new Retail Promotion Director for the Northeast and Midwest regions by the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). With extensive experience in retail and wholesale within the produce sector, Zapczynski is celebrated for his dedication to continual learning and leadership skills. His background includes roles at The Giant Co. and Merchants Distributors LLC. Zapczynski brings a profound embrace of market challenges and customer engagement to his new role at IPC.

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Seed potato institute in France launches comprehensive English-language website to boost global outreach

Inov3pt, the Agricultural Technical Institute of Seed Potato in France has recently launched a comprehensive English-language website aimed at broadening its international engagements. The platform, accessible via, features detailed information on the institute’s missions, projects, and potato research innovations. It presents a hub for global agricultural connections, emphasizing collaborative and educational resources to advance potato science and foster shared learning worldwide.

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Canadian potato landscape: Record stocks and regional disparities define the market

The United Potato Growers of Canada reported that potato holdings in April 2023 increased by 12.5% from the previous year, totaling 52,393,000 cwt. Stocks are higher than the five-year average, with significant amounts in western provinces, especially in processing. Quebec and Maritime regions saw lower stocks due to a rainy season. Processing sector stocks surged by 24% due to record production. Meanwhile, overall seed sector stocks are slightly down by 5.6%.

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‘Leading the charge’: Potatoes New Zealand’s strategic impact on industry excellence

Potatoes New Zealand is leading advancements in the potato industry through initiatives in research, sustainability, and education. It fosters industry growth by addressing challenges, communicating achievements, and advocating for growers in government interactions. Commitment to quality and safety in seed production is evident, as well as creating awareness through resources and media engagement. Strategic planning ensures its continued direction and industry engagement.

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UK seed potato body combats climate-driven challenges

The UK’s Seed Potato Organisation (SPO) considers extreme weather a significant threat to Scotland’s seed potato sector. Rising temperatures have increased aphid-induced diseases, endangering Scotland’s otherwise virus-free crops. Representing a third of Scotland’s seed potato acreage, SPO funds initiatives to combat these issues, including aphid-confusing tactics and supporting disease monitoring projects like those by the James Hutton Institute.

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Strategic investment in UK potato industry: AHDB proposes funding for key projects using residual levy funds

The AHDB plans to invest £1.8 million in leftover levy funds into seven projects to advance the UK potato industry, emphasizing disease management, crisis response, and sector challenges. The projects will address blight, aphids, viruses, public reputation, data transparency, CIPC residue, and nutrient management. With industry support and awaiting ministerial approval, the funding distribution is set for three to five years, aiming to boost potato farming’s future.

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Europatat and coalition call for reevaluation of Plant Reproductive Material legislation due to concerns over disease spread

Europatat and key agricultural bodies expressed alarm over changes to the EU’s Plant Reproductive Material legislation up for a vote in April’s final week. The coalition opposes AGRI Committee’s amendments which may allow unchecked seed movement, raising the risk of disease and damaging sustainability efforts. They advocate for the European Parliament to maintain the Commission’s original balance to prevent a sector crisis.

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Europatat unveils final program and speakers for 2024 Congress

Europatat is set to host its annual Congress in Brussels on 24 May 2024, focused on “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition”. The event will gather industry stakeholders to discuss the future environmental, economic, and social challenges of the potato sector. Renowned speakers, including legislators and experts, will provide insights and discuss solutions. Events include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and a presentation by the Platinum Sponsor, highlighting innovative strategies and the sector’s trajectory.

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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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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 The new members contribute efforts towards soil health and diversified vegetable farming.

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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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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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Unprecedented weather conditions disrupt potato planting in Ireland and across Europe, market gap looms

Extreme weather in Ireland is causing delays in potato planting, impacting the national economy. The Irish Farmers Association reports excessive rainfall leading to minimal progress and potential market shortages. Similar issues are occurring across Europe, constricting current potato stocks with main processors trying to mitigate supply chain disruptions. The situation reflects the strong link between climate and agricultural stability.

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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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Irish potato growers call for protest action outside supermarkets

The Irish Farmers’ Association, led by President Francie Gorman, has support from potato growers to protest against supermarkets over complex Bord Bia audits. The issue, discussed at a National Potato Meeting, includes supermarkets adding audits per GLOBALG.A.P standards. The IFA plans to meet with food retailer CEOs soon, starting with TESCO Ireland.

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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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The TRUTH project: Transforming the future of Britain’s soil health analysis with a farmer-led platform

The TRUTH project, backed by a £1M Defra grant and implemented by BOFIN and others, aims to revolutionize soil and root health understanding through advanced research and sensor technology in the UK. It introduces novel microbial sensing and soil testing tools, establishing a farmer network, the Soil Circle, for knowledge sharing, and equipping ‘Root Rangers’ to enhance sustainable soil management practices.

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Compensation sought for flood-impacted potato growers in Ireland

The Irish Farmers’ Association is requesting immediate compensation for potato growers hit by floods, citing that 650 acres of crops remain unharvested due to 2023’s adverse weather. The IFA highlights urgent compensation need, as farmers seek to plant spring crops and face substantial losses from the unavoidable damage caused by January frosts.

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‘Trailblazers in the Field’: The female forces shaping New Zealand’s potato industry

On International Women’s Day, Potatoes New Zealand highlighted the pivotal roles of women in the potato sector. Paula Lleras, Emma Lees, and Kate Trufitt were featured for their unique expertise and impacts on the industry, from database management and inspection to HR and leadership roles. These stories showcase the crucial contributions and inspirational effect women have in agriculture, promoting diversity and innovation.

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