Organizations in the News

Potato sales at retail soar in the US

Retail potato sales soar, increasing 10.4% in dollar sales and 9.3% in volume sales between July 1, 2019 and May 19, 2020, according to IRI. All potato categories across the retail store, except deli-prepared sides, increased in dollar and volume sales, according to a report by Potatoes USA. Fresh, frozen, dehydrated, and canned potatoes saw double-digit increases in both dollar[Read More…]

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Total Canadian potato storage holdings 12.5% above 3 year average; some chipping potatoes may need to be imported

Kevin MacIsaac, General manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, reported earlier today that the current Canadian potato storage holdings figures were released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on June 1. According to Kevin, “good demand for table potatoes has lowered fresh supplies 15% below the 3-yr. average. Processing stocks are up 14.4%. Seed growers are also in a difficult spot with seed left.”

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Outlook brighter for Maine’s potato industry as coronavirus restrictions relax

After months of struggles due to the shutdown of the food service industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the Aroostook County potato industry in Maine is seeing increased sales as states begin to reopen their economies. Rather than going unsold, many more potatoes from the 2019 crop will end up on plates and trays across the country as restaurant-ready items such as french fries and mashed potatoes. Still, many of the traditional venues for Maine potatoes remain closed off.

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Pale cyst nematode: The USDA takes more comments on potato pest regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has re-opened a public comment period on changes to regulations of pale cyst nematode-infested areas, according to a report by Chris Koger of The Packer over the past weekend. Pale cyst nematodes (PCN) affect potato crops. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service took initial comments twice in 2019, and is accepting comments until July 6 “on the science supporting the protocols, including the sources of the methods informing their content,” according to a USDA news release.

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Could the global loss of food service pressure the UK’s potato processing market?

The release of the end-March stocks estimate did enable the UK domestic market to encapsulate the partial impact that the coronavirus is having on the potato industry. However, it does not allow us to paint the whole picture as we finish this marketing year and head into next season. Anthony Speight, Analyst at AHDB, wrote the following report that we gladly re-publish here.

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Canadian potatoes are spoiling due to slow federal government response, says grower association

In a news release issued by Potatoes New Brunswick, the association says delays rolling out a COVID-19-related support program for Canadian agriculture may spell doom for potato farmers. While the government delays, millions of pounds of potatoes are sitting in storage and starting to rot, Potatoes New Brunswick says in its release. Early last month, the government announced a $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program intended to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.

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The Packer: How the US produce industry responds to the pandemic

With the Farmers to Families Food Box Program underway across the country, companies are busy packing and sending fresh produce to food banks. Chris Koger of The Packer provides a round-up of recent COVID-19-related news. As far as potatoes are concerned, Koger writes that Potatoes USA is connecting with industry members through a new video series, Keeping It Current, to explain what the organization has been doing during the pandemic.

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High demand puts Wisconsin spuds in a good spot

Wisconsin spuds had a shaky start to the COVID-19 pandemic, but high consumer demand has put potatoes in a good spot, says the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “The retail demand increased tremendously with the advent of COVID,” Executive Director Tamas Houlihan said. “Grocery store sales were through the roof, people were stocking up, and they weren’t buying the usual 5 and 10 pound bags. They were buying as much as they could.”

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PVMI: Working to develop the ‘perfect’ russet potato

Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon

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INTERPOM 2020: A change in event days announced

INTERPOM 2020, Europe’s most specialised indoor trade show for the entire potato industry. The 20th edition of INTERPOM will therefore go ahead, but opening days will be changed and the event will comply with the COVID-19 health and safety measures,” the organizers of the event say. So, we will now be happy to welcome you and yours on Monday 23, Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 November 2020 at Kortrijk Xpo.”

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AHDB potato marketing campaign: Bud is back and taking to the small screen!

Hot potato Bud the Spud will make his British television debut this summer as part of a £100,000 marketing push. AHDB says in a news release that it has refreshed the successful More Than a Bit on the Side campaign to support retail sales of potatoes in the wake of COVID-19. The tongue-in-cheek campaign, which features saucy character Bud alongside a range of suggestive slogans, aims to inspire home cooks to add an extra potato meal to their weekly repertoire.

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On June 2, Washington State potato growers will reach mission to get 1 million pounds of potatoes to those in need

The Washington State Commission says on its Facebook channel that it is excited to announce that the Washington State potato growers will reach their mission to get 1 million pounds of potatoes that were scheduled to be processed to those in need on June 2 at 11am. The Washington State Potato Commission thank all those who have helped out along this journey to 1 MILLION POUNDS. The volunteers, those who donated there space, their time, the donations to the GoFundMe account, the food banks that made the trips to pick up pallets of potatoes.

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International Potato Europe 2020 event officially cancelled

In a press release issued today, the organizing committee of the Potato Europe 2020 event announced that the event was regretfully cancelled due to concerns regarding the health safety of participants. The event was scheduled to take place on 2 and 3 September 2020 at Villers-Saint-Christophe in France. The next Potato Europe event is scheduled to take place in the Netherlands in September 2021.

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Canada: Alberta’s potato farmers facing mental, financial stress from production cuts

As Alberta’s potato industry in Canada reels from the devastation of COVID-19, one industry spokesperson says he is worried the mental health and wellness of farmers could be at stake. Terence Hochstein, executive director for the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA), said recent blows to potato farms have stoked his concerns for farm families. Hochstein said the industry is sitting on some 100,000 tons of potatoes right now that need to be processed by September.

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Europatat members and the fight against coronavirus

Secretariat of Europatat: Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, European potato traders have been working around the clock not only to keep the potato supply chain running but also to help combat Covid-19. In this article you can take a look at those Europatat’s members actions that have been carried out all around Europe in the past weeks. We would like to extend a particularly warm thank you to all of you. You are our #foodheroes!

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Potatoes NZ request ‘Emergency Measures’ to ban EU frozen fry imports

Potatoes New Zealand is asking the New Zealand government to give urgent consideration to imposing short-term measures limiting the importation into New Zealand of heavily discounted frozen potato chips to avoid a food security threat. This follows the Australian Potato Industry’s move to do the same. Globally, the disruption of supply chains, and particularly sales to hospitality, by virtue of COVID-19 restrictions has led to the complete collapse of potato prices in major production centres, in particular the European Union (EU).

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Producer organizations in Alberta connect potato growers and cattle ranchers

Recently, some of Alberta’s ag industry leaders thought of an option to assist two producer groups hard hit by the effects of COVID-19. Many Alberta potato growers have a surplus of their crop as a result of the shutdown of restaurants and other businesses that use large quantities of potatoes. Alberta beef producers faced delays getting their cattle to processing plants because of shutdowns in late April.

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Aussie potato growers spitting chips over European fries dumping threat

Australian potato growers are digging in for an anti-dumping fight with Europe as it reportedly threatens to flood the local market with frozen French fries. AUSVEG said potato growers faced big losses if large volumes of processed potatoes were imported from Europe as a consequence of a €650 million ($1.08 billion) COVID-19 assistance package.

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US potato exports begin to slow

The world-wide coronavirus pandemic is impacting U.S. potato exports, as seen in the figures for March, according to Potatoes USA. In a press release issued today, the organization says U.S. exports of frozen potato products were off 12% in March 2020 compared to 2019. Exports of dehydrated potatoes were off 16%, and fresh were off 13% from the previous year.

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Europatat welcomes ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy; calls on Commission to ensure coherent and realistic approach

Europatat welcomes the Farm to Fork Strategy published today by the European Commission. There is a need to secure a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system, a message that the potato sector fully endorses, Europatat says. The Farm to Fork Strategy sets out regulatory and non-regulatory measures to make the EU food system a global standard for sustainability. In doing so, the Commission should take a pragmatic and realistic approach to this situation.

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The potato portal: New buyer and grower ‘match-making’ website goes live

AHDB in the UK has launched a new portal to help put potato growers and wholesale buyers in touch with each other. The portal will act as a ‘match-making’ site for growers and merchants to find each other, with any trade taking place directly between them. Growers can view any requests on the portal from merchants and/or post available stocks of potatoes. Merchants can view available stocks from growers and/or post requests for specific varieties and/or volumes of potatoes.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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