Organizations in the News

Europatat and coalition call for reevaluation of Plant Reproductive Material legislation due to concerns over disease spread

Europatat and key agricultural bodies expressed alarm over changes to the EU’s Plant Reproductive Material legislation up for a vote in April’s final week. The coalition opposes AGRI Committee’s amendments which may allow unchecked seed movement, raising the risk of disease and damaging sustainability efforts. They advocate for the European Parliament to maintain the Commission’s original balance to prevent a sector crisis.

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Europatat unveils final program and speakers for 2024 Congress

Europatat is set to host its annual Congress in Brussels on 24 May 2024, focused on “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition”. The event will gather industry stakeholders to discuss the future environmental, economic, and social challenges of the potato sector. Renowned speakers, including legislators and experts, will provide insights and discuss solutions. Events include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and a presentation by the Platinum Sponsor, highlighting innovative strategies and the sector’s trajectory.

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German potato industry champions sustainability and reduced bureaucracy ahead of EU elections

At the German Potato Trade Association’s 18th annual meeting in Regensburg, key discussions led by President Thomas Herkenrath focused on shaping EU policies to benefit the potato sector. The DKHV called for reduced bureaucracy, increased research support, eased trade barriers, and sustainable practices before the 2024 EU elections. Honorary board appointments celebrated industry contributions, underscoring the need for innovation-driven agricultural leadership.

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Potato Sustainability Alliance welcomes new member companies and grower associates

The Potato Sustainability Alliance has introduced a new Grower Associate category, and welcomed the Soil Health Institute, Walther Farms and DeGroot’s Vegetable Farms as members. PSA, having worked for 12 years on potato sustainability, provides a platform for all value chain actors to craft sustainability standards, and encourages more members to join at The new members contribute efforts towards soil health and diversified vegetable farming.

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Seeding the future: CIP and SFSA’s partnership develops climate-resilient potatoes for a warmer world

The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and International Potato Center collaborate to develop climate-resilient potato and sweetpotato varieties for tropical regions. Recent achievements include rapid breeding programs in Vietnam and innovative sweetpotato food products, signifying progress in food security and commercial benefits. Partnerships with local communities and global organizations, such as the World Food Program, enhance nutrition and empower growers. Looking ahead, strategies will adapt to urbanization challenges, ensuring sustainable agricultural practices meet future demands.

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Finnish Potato Association integrates into Europatat, enhancing European sector synergy

Europatat has expanded its reach by welcoming Finland’s PAYR, the comprehensive Potato Sector Association, as its 21st member. PAYR, formed from a merger of Finnish potato organizations in 2015, aims to boost sales, support potato research, and secure project funding. With a diverse 9-member board, PAYR strengthens international ties in the potato industry and prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2025.

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Unprecedented weather conditions disrupt potato planting in Ireland and across Europe, market gap looms

Extreme weather in Ireland is causing delays in potato planting, impacting the national economy. The Irish Farmers Association reports excessive rainfall leading to minimal progress and potential market shortages. Similar issues are occurring across Europe, constricting current potato stocks with main processors trying to mitigate supply chain disruptions. The situation reflects the strong link between climate and agricultural stability.

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Potato market dynamics: Egypt’s currency woes, Ukraine’s import surge

Currency devaluation in Egypt has cheapened its potato exports, spiking international market demand but raising domestic supply concerns. Meanwhile, Ukraine experiences a market downturn with rising potato imports, mainly from the EU, lowering local prices. These cases reflect the global potato market’s susceptibility to economic, policy, and trade variables, highlighting the necessity for sustainable agriculture and resilient economic strategies.

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Irish potato growers call for protest action outside supermarkets

The Irish Farmers’ Association, led by President Francie Gorman, has support from potato growers to protest against supermarkets over complex Bord Bia audits. The issue, discussed at a National Potato Meeting, includes supermarkets adding audits per GLOBALG.A.P standards. The IFA plans to meet with food retailer CEOs soon, starting with TESCO Ireland.

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GM potatoes to be released to Nigerian farmers in 2025

Beginning in the 2025 planting season, Nigerian farmers will have access to new late blight-resistant potato varieties, according to Dr. Charles Amadi of NRCRI. This development is part of the USAID-funded GBPP, led by Michigan State University, in collaboration with multiple partners. The varieties promise to address the blight that devastates over 90% of crops in Nigeria.

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A united front against malnutrition: WFP and CIP renew partnership for nutritional innovation

The World Food Programme and the International Potato Center have renewed their collaboration with a four-year MOU to fight hunger by focusing on research and innovation in nutritious crops. This includes expanding school meals in Kenya to 10 million children and utilizing biofortified foods like Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato. The partnership also emphasizes preventive nutrition and sustainable solutions through strategic alliances and rigorous research.

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The TRUTH project: Transforming the future of Britain’s soil health analysis with a farmer-led platform

The TRUTH project, backed by a £1M Defra grant and implemented by BOFIN and others, aims to revolutionize soil and root health understanding through advanced research and sensor technology in the UK. It introduces novel microbial sensing and soil testing tools, establishing a farmer network, the Soil Circle, for knowledge sharing, and equipping ‘Root Rangers’ to enhance sustainable soil management practices.

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Compensation sought for flood-impacted potato growers in Ireland

The Irish Farmers’ Association is requesting immediate compensation for potato growers hit by floods, citing that 650 acres of crops remain unharvested due to 2023’s adverse weather. The IFA highlights urgent compensation need, as farmers seek to plant spring crops and face substantial losses from the unavoidable damage caused by January frosts.

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‘Trailblazers in the Field’: The female forces shaping New Zealand’s potato industry

On International Women’s Day, Potatoes New Zealand highlighted the pivotal roles of women in the potato sector. Paula Lleras, Emma Lees, and Kate Trufitt were featured for their unique expertise and impacts on the industry, from database management and inspection to HR and leadership roles. These stories showcase the crucial contributions and inspirational effect women have in agriculture, promoting diversity and innovation.

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Celebrating the humble spud: World Potato Congress and FAO to launch the first International Day of the Potato

The World Potato Congress, with FAO’s support, inaugurated International Day of the Potato on May 30th to celebrate this crucial food source. Recognizing the potato’s role in feeding billions, the UN declared the day officially. The 2024 event theme “Harvesting Diversity – Feeding Hope” emphasizes its importance in fighting hunger and urges global engagement through education and a social media hashtag campaign.

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European researchers unite to combat potato pest threat at inaugural wireworm workshop

To tackle the growing wireworm threat to potatoes, scientists will convene in Oslo during the 22nd Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research for the European Wireworm Research Network’s inaugural workshop. They aim to develop collaborative strategies for pest management, with a focus on new research, monitoring methods, and sustainable practices to protect potato crops, enhancing food security in Europe and globally.

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National Potato Council announces 2024 leadership: Environmental advocate Bob Mattive takes the helm

Bob Mattive was elected President of the National Potato Council at the annual Washington Summit. Mattive, a Coloradan farmer and former NPC Vice President, will lead the council dedicated to the interests of potato growers. With his extensive committee experience and commitment to environmental stewardship, he aims to work together for the industry’s advancement. The full executive committee was also installed, with NPC serving as the voice for U.S. growers in policy and regulatory matters.

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James Hutton Institute spearheads global food security with new National Potato Innovation Centre

The James Hutton Institute plans to establish the National Potato Innovation Centre to bolster food security, focusing on potatoes’ role in global strategies. The NPIC will utilize a new glasshouse complex to breed potato varieties suited to warmer, sustainable environments. With a reputation in potato science and a history of R&D success, the institute’s facility, housing the Commonwealth Potato Collection, aims to promote drought tolerance and disease resistance in potatoes, thereby future-proofing the UK industry.

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Farmers’ protests in Europe and the dead-end of neoliberalism

At the WTO’s 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi, members of the European Coordination Via Campesina protested against neoliberal agricultural policies. Highlighting a direct link to the impoverishment of farmers across Europe, they voiced frustration over decades of unfair policies that have increased production costs, stagnated farmer wages, and led to significant personal debts among farmers, despite their efforts to increase production. The ongoing farmer protests in Europe demonstrate the dire situation and demand for change.

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‘The golden crop’: New report details how the U.S. potato industry bolsters the economy and job market

The National Potato Council’s report, prepared by Michigan State University economists, highlights the significant economic role of the U.S. potato industry, worth $100.9 billion. With $2.2 billion in exports from July 2022 to June 2023, accounting for 20% of U.S. potato production, these exports underpin substantial domestic activity and jobs—nearly $4.78 billion in economic contribution and about 33,846 jobs. The potato industry at large supports over 714,000 jobs across the nation.

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The great potato leap: Unveiling the economic power of U.S. potato trade expansion

On February 26, 2024, the National Potato Council will host a roundtable to discuss a report by Michigan State economists on the U.S. potato industry. The report predicts a $1 billion GDP increase and thousands of new jobs from expanded potato exports. Key figures from the council will speak and answer media questions. The findings could position the U.S. as a significant global agricultural player and strengthen international trade relationships.

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Michigan’s mighty spuds: A $2.5 billion boost to state economy and job market

Michigan’s potato industry generates over $2.5 billion for the state’s GDP and supports roughly 21,700 jobs, solidifying its status as an economic powerhouse and the second-largest commodity in Michigan, behind apples. A Michigan State University study highlights its significance, with Michigan being the national leader in chipping potatoes, supplying one-fourth of U.S. potato chips.

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