Organizations in the News

IFA: Potato demand improves in Ireland, blight widespread in parts of Europe

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that overall, consumption and demand have improved over the past 10 days in Ireland, following the return of cooler weather conditions. Estimates put the area damaged by the storms two weeks ago in Belgium, Holland and Germany at around 20,000 ha’s. A full assessment can only be made once the crop reaches maturity but blight is widespread and tuber quality and yields are very likely to have suffered.

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AHDB Petitioners blast comments over horticulture and potato levy

Vegetable, flower and potato growers who led the campaign to abolish a statutory levy on horticulture and potato production – the AHDB Petitioners – have expressed concern and disappointment by recent comments by NFU representatives, and the Growers Better Levy Group, suggesting the industry supports a compulsory levy. Lincolnshire potato and vegetable grower John Bratley said, “In two decisive votes, two-thirds of growers across the horticulture and potato sectors unambiguously rejected the idea of a statutory levy.

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Report: Potato sales dip in the US year-on-year, but demand is elevated in grocery stores

According to a market report issued by Potatoes USA, potato sales declined in dollars by 10.5% and in volume by 15.5% during April – June of 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020. However, when sales are compared to that same timeframe in 2019, sales increased in value and volume. Consumers bought 53 million more pounds of potatoes, demonstrating demand for potatoes is elevated in grocery stores.

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A blight-resistant gmo potato variety help farmers in Uganda to defeat late blight and change their fortunes

Successful innovation for agriculture will depend on thorough and careful understanding of the aspirations of beneficiaries and the challenges farmers face. It entails putting them at the center of these innovations, according to this blog post by the International Potato Center (CIP). As part of its work to research solutions addressing hunger and poverty, CIP and partners worked in Uganda to develop and test a new type of blight-resistant potato, which may not need any fungicides.

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The ‘tricot’ approach: How African farmers participate in potato variety selection and dissemination

The “triadic comparisons of technologies” – or tricot – approach is being used in a citizen-science project funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) to identify and scale up best potato and cassava varieties in Rwanda. Farmers are trained to conduct a trial with potato seed and then, at the end of the season, they are asked which variety they consider ‘best’ or ‘worst’ on several characteristics including yield, marketability, plant vigor and more.

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UK produce growers call for grower-run research agency

The Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG), a voluntary group of business operators in the horticulture and potato sectors, is calling for Defra to support a grower-managed research agency following the ballot on the AHDB statutory levy for horticulture and potato growers. GBLG is made up of a voluntary group of 36 independent and representative business operators in the horticulture and potato sectors.

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Latest global potato statistics now updated

Dear Readers, I have updated the latest available FAOSTAT global data for potatoes – related to “production” and “area harvested”, and present the results in this news post. It now includes statistics for 2019. Total world production totalled 370,436,581 metric tonnes, produced on 17,340,986 hectares.

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NPC President: Hoping for foodservice to open up, having live conversations with growers

Nearly halfway through his national potato council presidency, Dominic Lajoie spoke to Newssource8′s Rhian Lowndes about how things are going in this week’s County Ag. “The Delta variant and spikes across the country, it’s concerning,” he says. “We definitely want our schools open, our universities open, our restaurants fully open. You know food service is a big part of the potato industry. If those markets aren’t developed back to where they were, we’re gonna feel a lot more pain.”

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Canadian crop update: Good moisture levels in the east, hot and dry in the west

Growing conditions across the country seem to have reversed regionally from a year ago. This year the four main growing provinces in eastern and central Canada have received good moisture levels to date, while the four western provinces have been extremely hot and dry. Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) provides an up to date summary of crop growth across the country.

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Nominations for the 2022 World Potato Congress Industry Awards now requested

The World Potato Congress Industry Award ceremony is an important and prestigious event on the international potato scene. The award recognizes a lifetime of contributions to the potato industry. Typically, three outstanding individuals are recognized during the Industry Awards ceremony at the World Potato Congress. Nominations for the next Congress in Dublin, Ireland, May 30 to June 2, 2022 are now requested.

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British farm levy body AHDB announces plans to cut costs by £7.8m

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK plans to axe a number of senior management staff as part of efforts to reduce costs by £7.8 million. The UK farm levy body has also unveiled plans to let levy-paying farmers and agricultural businesses vote on the future direction of its activities in spring next year.

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European potato growers reduced planted area in 2021

The total potato area within the NEPG zone (EU-04) has been reduced by 4,7%, according to a press release issued by the North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG). Potato area in EU-04 declines from 522.300 ha to 497.700 ha (-24.600 ha). There was a decrease in all countries, but most in Belgium and the Netherlands who had the highest increases in area these last years, with total plantings less than the 5 year average. This is a historical event.

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National Potato Council welcomes Program Coordinator

The National Potato Council today welcomed Ethan Keller to serve as the organization’s Program Coordinator. The recent Ohio State University graduate will support the execution and implementation of NPC’s programs to engage and inform its membership. “We are excited to have Ethan join our team,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles.

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‘A seedy affair’: UK’s Defra ends seed potato deadlock

Scottish potato growers have welcomed the decision of the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to implement a reciprocal ban on EU imports of seed potatoes. EU seed potatoes are now banned from entering Great Britain, after having been granted a six-month passage by the UK Government, when talks between both sides failed to agree on equivalence post-Brexit, writes Claire Taylor in this news story published by The Scottish Farmer.

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World Potato Congress appoints CEO of Potatoes South Africa as International Advisor

The World Potato Congress Inc.’s (WPC) Board of Directors announced this week the appointment of Willie Jacobs as its newest International Advisor from South Africa. Mr Jacobs is serving as CEO of Potatoes South Africa. Romain Cools, President & CEO of World Potato Congress Inc.: “We are very pleased to welcome Willie Jacobs to the World Potato Congress Inc.’s International Advisor group. Mr. Jacobs will be a great asset to WPC.”

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Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research: What next?

In this AHDB Food & Farming podcast episode, Jimmy Phillips interviews Rob Clayton, AHDB Sector Strategy Director for Potatoes, to discuss how the planned wind down and transition of AHDB Potatoes activities will impact potato storage research. The voting outcome of the recent ballot on the statutory levy in potatoes means that research activity at the centre will stop this autumn.

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Eye on Potatoes podcast: US potato growers join the climate change fight

This week, Randy Russell, founder of The Russell Group, which manages the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, joins the NPC Eye on Potatoes podcast to talk about how the FACA coalition got started and why it was so important that potato growers have taken a seat at the table. In May, the podcast was joined by Mark Klompien, President and CEO of United Potato Growers of America, who informed listeners about the fresh market outlook.

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US potato groups urge a ‘trust-but-verify’ stance with Mexico on fresh potato imports

It was announced last week that Mexican Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos Arámbula is expected to travel to Washington, D.C. in early August to meet with his American counterpart, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The meeting is expected to include a discussion of the decades-long issue concerning Mexico’s ban on the full importation of fresh U.S. potatoes. Today, NPC and state potato organizations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Tai, urging them to “maintain a ‘trust-but-verify’ stance with Mexico” as they continue their negotiations.

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Glyphosate: EU regulators begin review of renewal assessments

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have received a draft assessment of glyphosate carried out by four EU Member States and will now begin to consider the findings. Glyphosate – the most widely used herbicide in the world – is currently authorised for use in the EU until December 2022.

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Canadian potato growers optimistic about crop outlook

The potato crop in Canada is in varying stages – from emergence to touching between rows. Potato growers everywhere are optimistic for the good growing conditions needed to move this crop in its early life stages, writes Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada in the latest crop report issued today. He provides a summary of how the crop looks across the country.

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Study: Potato nutrients can help reduce sodium retention, may help reduce risk of hypertension

A new study published in Nutrients investigated the effect of increased dietary potassium from a whole food source – baked/boiled potatoes and baked French fries – or a potassium supplement on blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors compared to a ‘typical American’ control diet (lower potassium intake) among 30 pre-hypertensive to hypertensive men and women.

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AHDB agrees a wind-down programme

The AHDB has announced a “managed wind-down” of its potatoes and horticulture work following industry votes to end statutory levies in the sectors – but growers will still have to fund the organisation during 2021-22. Funding will be provided for current research programmes to the end of contracts, and 42 of these contracts will end by March 2022. Otherwise all other activities for potatoes and horticulture during 2021-22 will be stopped at appropriate points in the growing season.

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Europatat Congress 2021: A special and successful virtual event for the potato sector

On 10 June the European potato community virtually gathered for the Europatat Congress 2021. Under the slogan “Stay connected – new strategies for the potato sector”, the annual event organised by Europatat, which was this year open to all the potato supply chain, focused on the possibilities and challenges that digitalisation can offer to all-size companies in the sector.

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Europatat, other EU ag associations on pesticide use, Farm to Fork strategy

Following the first anniversary of the publication of the Farm to Fork Strategy by the European Commission, Europatat and twelve other association members of the Agri-Food Chain Roundtable on Plant Protection have co-signed an open letter on the importance of carrying out a comprehensive assessment before making any decisions about the reduction of pesticide use, including the target for 50% reduction of the use of chemicals.

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