Organizations in the News

Seed potato exports from Canada’s Prince Edward Island to the US halted; NPC CEO issues statement

In a media statement, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US says that on November 27, “the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of potato wart (Synchytrium endobioticum) in two fields on a farm in Prince Edward Island (PEI), according to a pest report issued by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).” In response, the NPC said it supports CFIA’s immediate action to stop all PEI seed shipments into the United States

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In an age of biofortified food: Study reveals potato’s potential for reducing anemia

Potatoes can be an excellent source of iron. This means potatoes could play an important role in efforts to reduce iron deficiency – the leading cause of anemia, which affects about 2 billion people globally. Whereas people absorb only about 2-10% of the iron in most vegetables, 8% of the iron in pearl millet and less than 10% of the iron in beans, participants in this study absorbed 28% of the iron in the yellow-fleshed potato they ate.

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‘Agronomy Week’ will see the launch of the new Potato Variety Comparison Tool and more

The AHDB hosted Agronomy Week will run as a virtual conference from Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December in the UK. It will comprise a series of webinars aimed at agronomists on important issues in contemporary agronomy. Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to cereals and oilseeds During the rest of the week, the event will focus on the potato industry. The new Potato Variety Comparison Tool will be launched on Wedneday.

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Recording of Potato Soil Health webinar now online

This winter AHDB in the UK is running its Potato Soil Health Campaign – part of the Great Soils Programme. The goal of this campaign is to encourage potato growers to reconsider their current practice when it comes to soil health. You can now watch a re-recording of the AHDB hosted soil health webinar – ‘Potato Soil Health – Why bother?’ online. The webinar was hosted live by AHDB on 19 November.

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Canada: P.E.I. Potato Board elects new executive

The P.E.I. Potato Board has a new executive. During the board of director’s Nov. 20 meeting, it was decided that Jason Hayden will continue in the role of chairman, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper. The new vice-chairman is Wayne Townshend of Fortune Bridge. John Hogg from Summerside will continue in the role of secretary-treasurer. Three new directors were also appointed

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First potato production estimate for the UK higher – despite reduced planted area

The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most, according to an AHDB report by Alice Bailey. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be un-lifted as at 12 November 2019. The first official GB production estimate is 5.3Mt.

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Webinar: Potato soil health – Why bother?

Soil health has a major impact on productivity and economic performance. This winter AHDB in the UK is running our Potato Soil Health Campaign – part of the Great Soils Programme. The goal of this campaign is to encourage potato growers to reconsider their current practice when it comes to soil health. New ideas and ways of approaching the emerging new legislative guidelines, will have a huge impact on traditional management practices and ultimately the financial health of a business.

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Colorado Potato Administrative Committee shares its message on social media

The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee is sharing messages about potatoes’ nutrition on social media. This year, the committee plans to focus its marketing messages on social media venues, “with a heavy emphasis on potato nutrition and the excellent carbohydrate energy potatoes provide for both physical and mental health,” said Jim Ehrlich, executive director.

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Researchers say apical rooted cuttings are the solution for cheaper potato seed in India

In a recently published research brief, CIP/CGIAR researchers Samarendu Mohanty, Sampriti Baruah and Ravindranath Reddy explain that the potato sector in India continues to face serious problems accessing good-quality planting materials at affordable prices for small and marginal farmers in many potato-growing states. So, how do we solve the potato seed problem, the researchers ask. They say two things need to happen.

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Video: NPC CEO Kam Quarles provides industry update

On Nov. 12, the Idaho Potato Commission hosted its annual Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting, open to everyone in the Idaho potato industry. NPC CEO Kam Quarles provided an update on the federal policy victories and activities undertaken by the National Potato Council and its state potato organization partners in 2020, and set the stage for an active 2021. Kam Quarles began by saying that though 2020 isn’t over yet, looking back on it is almost like viewing two entirely separate worlds – “one is pre-Covid. and the other is the world that we’ve been dealing with since the shutdown started.”

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Potatoes South Africa’s CEO to leave

Dr. André Jooste, an agricultural economist who joined Potatoes South Africa eight years ago as CEO, is leaving the organization at the end of the month for personal reasons. The chair of the Potatoes South Africa board, JF van der Merwe, lauded him for his ‘exceptionally valuable’ contribution to the organization. Various people in the South African fresh produce industry have expressed their hope that his admired expertise will not be lost to the industry.
The appointment process for a new chief executive officer has commenced.

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Good news for US: Mexico reinstates labeling exemption for food service products

Two weeks ago, the U.S. potato industry was informed that Mexico rescinded its new front of pack labeling regulation, reinstating the exemption for food service products, according to information published in the latest Eye on DC email newsletter from the NPC. It is said that as a result, processed potato products destined for food service outlets should once again be exempt from the NOM-051 labeling requirements. NPC CEO Kam Quarles welcomed the move.

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EU Exit Perspectives: Change is coming, says AHDB’s Phil Bicknell

In the second of AHDB’s blog series on Brexit, its market intelligence director and Warwickshire farmer Phil Bicknell shares his thoughts on the inevitable changes on the horizon and how he is equipping his own business to weather the challenges. He writes: “Our industry faces a decade of change, much of it driven by significant policy shifts. Some sectors will face the challenge of reducing dependency on direct payments as they are phased out. We know there will be an increased focus on the environment. The UK’s new trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world will impact our industry.”

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What does Lockdown 2.0 mean for the British potato industry?

Lockdown 2.0 “arrived” in Britain and this brings widespread closure of pubs and restaurants once again. Although the rules differ across the country, with Wales’ firebreak rules coming to an end, Scotland experiencing regional restrictions and England in a full national lockdown. This will inevitably effect the potato industry, but the effect is unlikely to be as dramatic as the first lockdown, according to the AHDB.

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Final Canadian crop report: Production well below average, but good harvest season

“As this final crop report of the season is prepared, potato harvest in Canada is complete in most provinces with the exception of Quebec,” says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). He writes that growers are about 90% done, and hopefully should finish up by October 31 as the weather forecast improves from the wet and cold conditions experienced over the last couple of weeks. Based on what is known today, Canadian Potato Production is substantially below that of 2019 and below the 5-yr. average.

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Belgapom announces major organizational changes going forward

Belgapom’s General Assembly decided to continue life as a non-profit organisation in future. In addition, a new board was elected. The new governing body extended Marc Van Herreweghe’s mandate as president. Romain Cools, outgoing secretary, was appointed acting CEO. Tom Vandenkendelaere informed the Belgapom president that he will not any longer accept the mandate to act as CEO of Belgapom.

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Europatat welcomes new Technical Affairs Director

The European Potato Trade Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Romans Vorss as the new Technical Affairs Director of the Association, with effect as of today, 26 October 2020. Romans Vorss has an extensive professional experience of more than ten years in Brussels, where he has been promoting and defending the interests of member associations and trading companies active in the EU agri-food trade sector. On behalf of the Europatat Board, Europatat’s Secretary General, Berta Redondo Benito, has welcomed this new addition to the team.

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CIP scientists developing digital tools to optimize irrigation water use in potato production

Potato has good potential to help the world meet that challenge, since it produces more calories per liter of water than other major staple crops. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are trying to enhance that potential through the development of digital tools to optimize the use of water in irrigation. A team of researchers led by crop ecophysiologist David Ramírez has used a combination of conventional and thermal cameras to study how potato plants react to water stress. They also developed open-access software called Thermal Image Processor (TIPCIP) to analyze those images.

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NEPG: Potato plantings in Northwestern Europe expected to decrease by a minimum of 15 %

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.

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US potato retail sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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