A group of nine seed potato growers from across Scotland, along with technical back-up, are putting together a new organisation to support and develop the seed potato sector. The new Seed Potato Organisation (SPO) is starting to take shape. The growers have put together a prospectus with all the details and want to speak to other seed growers this summer.
Organizations in the News
June marks the end of the Europatat Presidency for Mr Gilles Fontaine, who joined the Europatat Board in 2014 as Treasurer and became President in 2018. Throughout these years, Mr Fontaine played an outstanding role in shaping Europatat on several fronts. His presidency was characterised by innovative ideas, strategic thinking and, most valuable, his relentless efforts to increase the visibility and representation of Europatat both at national and international levels.
On 30 May 2022, the Europatat membership gathered in Dublin where they approved a new vision and mission for Europatat, as well as the key fields of action and priorities for the next three years (2022-2025) to achieve progress in all of the major objectives of the Association.
Europatat celebrates 70th Anniversary, elects new President, and approves Strategic Plan for 2022-2025
During the World Potato Congress event in Dublin last week, Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, held its first in-person General Assembly meeting since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 90 delegates from 21 countries celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the association, and elected a new Board to lead the association for the coming years, welcoming Mr. Tigran Richter as the new President. Europatat members also approved a new Strategy for the period 2022-2025.
The World Potato Congress Industry Awards were presented during the 11th World Potato Congress in Dublin, Ireland. Awards were presented to Dr. John J. Burke, Paul C. Struik, Antoon Wallays and Richard W. “Dick” Okray for their long and distinctive work in the international potato industry.
World Potato Congress Inc. launches the Declaration of Dublin to advance UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 through the potato
On the last day of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) in Dublin, Ireland, WPC President Romain Cools, called in the WPC Declaration of Dublin upon the global potato value chain to invest in ‘potato solutions’ to advance the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. In his opening address, the WPC President concluded that local food production in general and potatoes more specifically must be intensified to assure food security and reduce dependency from international trade.
IFA National Potato Chairman Sean Ryan said the recent announcement of the €3m scheme for the seed potato sector is a positive first step. The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) met with the Minister earlier this year and have continued to engage with senior Department officials on funding and support options for the development of the potato sector. The area of seed potato crops for certification in Ireland increased to 299 hectares in 2021. This figure will need to double for domestic demand.
‘In the trenches of the potato industry’: New Idaho Potato Commission CEO ‘a potato guy through and through’
In as much as it’s possible, Jamey Higham, the new president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, has potatoes in his blood. Higham, who in February took over leadership of the commission that promotes the state’s most famous product, was born and raised in Shelley, the epicenter of potato production in Idaho.
A good source of fibre and full of antioxidants, the potato is one of the most important food crops in the world – a crop that climate change is taking its toll on. How do different potatoes respond to heat, drought and waterlogging stresses? EU-backed scientists are investigating the changes that make potatoes resilient or susceptible.
During the last NEPG meeting in Gembloux, the first elected chairman of the organization, Jaap Botma from Friesland in The Netherlands, was replaced by Frenchman Geoffroy d’Evry. He will serve a term of two years. Geoffroy d’Evry is an arable farmer north of Paris and produces potatoes for the starch, crisping, and chipping industries, and is president of the UNPT (Union Nationale des Producteurs de Pommes de Terre).
Potato growers from across the country joined the National Potato Council (NPC) in DC during a tumultuous time for the industry during this year’s Washington Summit (Feb. 18 to March 2). “The impact of inflation on consumer goods and ag inputs, trade disputes with important industry partners, and the war in Ukraine were all on our minds as we sat down to set our policy agenda for 2022,” writes Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, in this article.
United Potato Growers of Canada has hired a new General Manager – Victoria Stamper, of Mascouche, Quebec, a community just north of Montreal. Victoria will join United in this senior role effective Monday, April 25th. She replaces outgoing General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac, who announced his retirement from the organization earlier in the year.
Sustainability and climate change continue to be a part of the conversation, both in policy discussions and within the potato supply chain. During Potato Expo 2022, the hosts of the National Potato Council’s Eye on Potatoes Podcast sat down with two of the industry’s sustainability leaders who are working to ensure the potato industry remains at the front of agriculture’s sustainability success story.
GB Potatoes, the proposed new grower controlled industry body, has moved closer to becoming a reality by appointing a working group of nine stakeholders. GB Potatoes, which has been set up following the demise of AHDB Potatoes, will cover similar areas of research and markets with the intention of leverage funding including the driving of innovation.
Potatoes USA, the marketing and promotion board for the potato industry, elected new leadership during its Annual Meeting on March 9, 2022. The newly elected Chairman and Executive Committee will lead the Board through 2022-2023. Jason Davenport of Bakersfield, California was elected as Chairman of the Board. This marks Davenport’s sixth year on the Board and as a member of the Executive Committee.
The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT), in which Europatat is participating, aims to elucidate potato tolerance to single and combined abiotic stresses, and to develop new strategies for potato improvement. A set of 30 potato cultivars were selected for studies in controlled glasshouse experiments.
A meeting of Scottish seed potato growers in Forfar the past week has agreed to set up a co-op to represent the sector. As John Sleigh reports for The Scottish Farmer, the new body, which is as yet unnamed, aims to deliver four outcomes for the seed potato sector; support development of markets; secure economic and environmental sustainability; fund research, innovation and more.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, potato markets have been somewhat resistant with uncertainty expected for the coming recent weeks, North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says in a news release earlier today. “Producers need to realize that, despite this very significant crisis, our European countries (and others around the world) will continue to need potatoes and potato products in the future,” NEPG says.
Earlier this week (16 March) the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development held an “Exchange of views on the disruption in the EU-GB trade in seed potatoes” to which Europatat was invited to speak. Europatat used this opportunity to highlight the impact of there being no agreement on the European potato supply chain.
The AHDB Petitioners welcome the Government’s response to the consultation confirming that the potato and horticulture sectors levies will be lifted. However, as predicted, engagement levels with farmers and growers have been abysmal, with just 0.25% of eligible levy payers responding, half the number who responded in 2018.
Prince Edward Island potatoes may have been shut out of their biggest export market in the U.S., but they’re still finding a way to make a difference elsewhere. P.E.I. potatoes have been on the menu at many food banks across the country while exports to the U.S. mainland remain suspended.
Following consultation in November last year, the UK Government and Devolved Governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced the end of the statutory levy for the horticulture and potato sectors in Great Britain from April 2022. This will end the ‘one size fits all’ approach to these levies, according to a statement released by the UK Government yesterday.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has detected the presence of potato wart in a third field in Prince Edward Island. The agency says the fungus was detected on a farm that does not produce table stock potatoes and does not export to Puerto Rico. No seed potatoes produced in 2021 left this grower’s facility.
The European Potato Processors’ Association (EUPPA) released a special report highlighting progress made in recent years by the sector across key areas of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The European potato processing industry welcomes the green ambitions and wants to play its part in the shift to greater sustainability.
New Zealand’s potato Centre of Excellence to be grower-centric, identify problems and devise solutions
The board of Potatoes NZ Inc. (PNZ) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lincoln University to launch a research partnership which includes a Centre of Excellence for Potato Research and Extension, based in Canterbury. The research conducted at the Centre will be focused on working with potato growers to identify and understand the problems confronting them and to devise solutions to those problems.
The International Potato Center (CIP) recently celebrated a significant milestone – the 50th anniversary of its founding. In an event entitled Agrobiodiversity for people, the planet and prosperity, friends of CIP gathered virtually worldwide to focus on CIP’s relationship with Peru, the Andes and the region’s important role to play in food systems transitions building on its unique agrobiodiversity.