Organizations in the News

2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa

Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.

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New Potatoes South Africa awareness campaign highlights resilience, optimism of unsung industry heroes

Potatoes South Africa (PSA) has launched a bold new awareness campaign in a bid to create perspective about the resilience and performance of the potato industry’s stakeholders in the country, especially in the context of South Africa recently marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 disruption. Called #WhenHopeWhispers, the campaign aims to highlight the resilient spirit and contributions of various stakeholders from the potato industry.

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PMA and United Fresh to create new global trade association

The boards of directors of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) have reached an agreement in principle to create a new global trade association combining their resources and expertise to enhance member services, increase advocacy before government and the public, help members grow their businesses, and drive consumption of fresh produce.

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IFA urges farmers to ‘grow for their markets’

According to the latest potato market report issued by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), there is a chance that outdoor dining may recommence in May according to the most recent plan to gradually re-open the country. Demand for top quality packing material remains strong. As the weather improves, growers are reminded to ‘grow for their markets’ and to remain cognisant of the current market situation.

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Second pandemic wave caused depressed British potato market

AHDB Arable analyst, Thomma Shepherd, provides an analysis of what has driven potato markets over the last few weeks. She says the weekly average price survey, covering all sectors of the industry, shows potatoes have had a depressed few months, lagging behind previous seasons. The 2nd wave of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has killed a lot of demand for potatoes. With the majority of hospitality closed along with schools there has been little optimism within the industry.

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Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership: Annual report released

The Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is a five-year, $5.9 million multi-institution cooperative agreement between MSU, USAID, Simplot Company and other global institutions to develop and bring to market improved potato products in farmer- and consumer-preferred varieties in Asian countries. BPP offers biotech potato products with broad-spectrum resistance to late blight. The BPP annual report for FY 2020 is now available.

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Idaho Potato Commission president announces retirement plans

Frank Muir, who has been president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission since July 2003, announced that he would be retiring in six months. When Muir took the helm at the IPC 18 years ago, farm gate revenues for Idaho potatoes were at a 15-year low. Nationally, the famous and once highly regarded Idaho russet had lost much of its sheen. Muir was brought aboard, he said, “to turn this thing around,” and turn it around he did.

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Long-term potato storage: Ambient vs refrigeration

Storing potatoes long-term is often challenging and this is especially so if there is a reliance on ambient ventilation. Even in the most favourable seasons, it is seldom possible to hold crops at optimum temperature in ambient stores beyond early May. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (CSR) facility in the UK explore how refrigeration can help deliver on long-term storage.

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PotatoEurope 2021: Preparations of trial fields for the event kicked off

This week the PotatoEurope organisation has started preparing the potato trial fields at the event location near the city of Lelystad in the Netherlands. The organisers say this annual international potato industry event will offer visitors a glimpse into the future of the potato sector during the exhibition. Fourteen eminent trial fields will create a fascinating source of insight and information regarding current affairs, according to the organisers.

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Growers welcome ‘No’ vote on AHDB potato levy

Campaigners against the compulsory Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) levy on potatoes have welcomed the conclusive ‘no’ vote against its continuation, with 66.4 per cent of voters opposed to the continuation of the levy. Lincolnshire potato and vegetable grower John Bratley said, “This clear vote shows that, like their colleagues in horticulture, potato growers across the UK have had enough of this expensive compulsory levy body.

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British potato growers vote to abolish statutory levy

A ballot to decide the future of the AHDB Potato levy has concluded and the voting report has been passed to Ministers for a decision on what happens next. AHDB says the overall voter turnout was 64 per cent with 1,196 eligible votes cast. The No vote against the continuation of a levy was 66.4 per cent versus the Yes vote of 33.6 per cent. AHDB chairman, Nicholas Saphir, said he was “deeply disappointed” with the result.

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Pre-packed potatoes make a comeback during pandemic year in Britain

Throughout 2019, pre-packed potatoes lost out to loose potatoes as consumer concerns around plastic rose. However, as the coronavirus pandemic hit, this reversed, according to a report by Rebecca Gladman, Retail Insight Manager at AHDB. She reports that pre-packed potatoes’ share of volume reached 94.4% in the 12 w/e 21 Feb 2021 – an increase pof 1.6 percentage points on 2020 and the highest level it’s been at for around five years (Kantar).

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Webinar shows benefits of digital decision support tools for potato growers

Digital decision support tools will play an increasingly important role for potato farmers, that was the message from an industry-focused webinar held recently, hosted by CHAP (Crop Health and Protection Ltd) in the UK. Speakers at the event showed how developing a robust resistance management strategy in potatoes depends on a willingness to plan, the use of alternative modes of action, and the adoption of future technologies.

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NFU Scotland: Only ‘absolute parity’ will resolve seed potato export issues

NFU Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on exporting Scottish seed potatoes to the Europe Union and Northern Ireland by calling for UK Governments to explore all possible avenues to reopen these markets. The union said that reciprocal arrangements, in accordance with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), should be put in place as soon as possible, achieving equivalence across all imports and exports.

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UK: New Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm field experiments to focus on growing a quality crop

AHDB Potatoes announced today that L P Ollier & Son, Knutsford, has agreed to host a number of field experiments as part of the 2021 Strategic Potato Farm programme. Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager for the North of England, Graham Bannister said: “This year’s theme has an emphasis on growing a quality crop, based around nutrition, storage and where appropriate, alternative IPM methods.

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Webinar – ‘Late Blight: 175 years of experience. What have we learned? An update’

This webinar will be hosted by World Potato Congress Inc, and presented by Albert Schirring of Bayer AG on March 31, 2021 at 09:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. During his presentation, Albert Schirring will discuss the key principles of robust late blight management strategies. He will also focus on the global population dynamics of the late blight pathogen to improve fungicide resistance management strategies.

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EuroBlight network to host online technical meetings in March and April

The EuroBlight network announced recently that it will organise four subgroup meetings and one online workshop in March and April this year to replace the physical workshop originally planned for May, 2021. EuroBlight offers 5 minute presentations and 1 minute “elevator talks” about your work. If you want to present then please indicate the title of your presentation when registering.

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Cold weather, national lockdown dull potato demand in Britain

Throughout February, free-buy and contract demand remained quiet across the board. Cold and snowy weather at the start of February, combined with the national lockdown, curbed many opportunities to eat out-of-home, therefore dulling demand. February saw the release of the GB end of January stocks figures . This pegged grower held stocks at 2.11Mt, 39% of total production. This is 47.36Kt lower than last year but 40.86Kt higher than the 5-year average

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NEPG reports lower processing contract prices and higher production costs for growers

According to the North-Western Potato Growers (NEPG), processing contract prices for the coming season have been published in recent weeks. The industry body says in a press release that contract prices for delivery ex-field in October-November are generally lower than last season – between 5 and 10% . At the end of the season (May-June 2022), the decline is less, and in most cases prices are slightly higher than those for the 2020-2021 season.

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Pandemic slashed Belgian potato sector, processing volume down

No one could miss it in the media last year: the corona pandemic slashed the Belgian potato sector. In the 2019-2020 season, where the free market was in balance, growers and buyers were from one day to the next confronted with a global lockdown and the collapse of the demand for potatoes by the hospitality and food service sectors, says the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association, Belgapom, in a press release.

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Fourth-generation Maine farmer is now the nation’s top potato lobbyist

Growing up on his father’s potato farm in Cyr Plantation, Dominic LaJoie said he never could have imagined the size his family’s company, LaJoie Growers LLC, would reach. He also never planned on getting into politics. Nonetheless, the National Potato Council elected LaJoie, a fourth-generation St. John Valley potato farmer, as president of the Washington, D.C.-based interest group on Feb. 22

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Sprout control: Practical solutions for getting the best out of ethylene and mint oil

Controlling potato sprouting with ethylene and mint oil is requiring a more careful approach to store management, as most potato storage managers know very well after the use of CIPC was banned in the UK. Interested parties are cordially invited to join AHDB Potatoes’ Sutton Bridge team in the UK on the 9th of March for a webinar to hear about the latest research and top tips on how to get the best out of ethylene and mint oil sprout suppressants.

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Lockwood Mfg

Urschel

EMVE

Interagro

FAM Stumabo