Seed

Innovation in the air: How a visionary in Rwanda is growing potatoes sustainably with aeroponics

A Rwandan entrepreneur is pioneering the use of innovative farming technology that, he believes, is set to play a major role in feeding the growing population in his country, amid increasing pressure on arable land. No soil, barely any water, a controlled environment: for Apollinaire Karegeya, the advantages of aeroponics are clear. The young entrepreneur’s vision and actions are described in a recently published news article by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Potato News Today is pleased to republish the article here.

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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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Bad news for the Canadian potato industry: Potato wart confirmed in Prince Edward Island

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of potato wart in two fields on a farm in Prince Edward Island (PEI), according to a pest report issued today by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). According to the report, the CFIA has placed the fields under quarantine and is carrying out official control measures under the authority of the federal Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations.

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Brexit race on for British seed potato sector

The UK potato industry has been left in no doubt about the frustrations, fears and risk attached to trading high value Scottish seed potatoes as the clock ticks down to a possible no-deal Brexit. With just five weeks left until current trading conditions change forever, Sandy McGowan of Milnathort-based seed export company Cygnet PEP gave delegates at the AHDB’s virtual potato conference his personal perspective of the looming cliff edge that threatens the industry on December 31.

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‘The Potato Field’ podcast: Ben and Alison Sklarczyk on tissue culture and seed potato production

‘The Potato Field’ is an initiative of Spudman magazine in the US. In the latest episode, Ben and Alison Sklarczyk discuss the process of producing plants in their tissue culture lab and then greenhouse before they reach field seed potatoes in disease-free and sterile condition, as well as their recent expansion, trends in seed potatoes and balancing family with their demanding business.

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Britain’s bi-annual Seed Potato Industry conference to be held online for first time

The bi-annual Seed Potato Industry event in the UK will for the first time be held online and delivered via the Hopin digital platform on Tuesday 24th November. This will take place between the hours of 9.30am and 5.00pm. The conference’s keynote speaker, Brendon Rockey, grows ware and seed potatoes for the North American market at his farm in Center Colorado. He does this at 7,600ft, with less than 6 inches of rain a year. He has met this challenge by developing his own ‘Biotic Potatoes’ system and carefully managing carbon exchange using a diverse range of cover crops and grazing livestock on them.

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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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Canada: Funding for Prince Edward Island seed potato growers to ease the effects of COVID-19

The government of Prince Edward Island will help the province’s seed potato growers with an assistance program to compensate for the negative effects COVID-19 has had on their industry. The provincial government says in a news release that the Seed Potato Recovery Program is a $1.19 million fund for seed growers who can demonstrate that they have incurred extraordinary costs associated with the pandemic.

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HZPC: Great supply of certificates offers opportunities for seed potato growers

During the half-yearly trading day of potato breeder HZPC Holding B.V. today it appeared that the supply of certificates has increased again. The large supply offers buying opportunities for seed potato growers. The supply of certificates is higher than ever. Mr Gerard Backx, CEO HZPC: ‘After many years with a limited supply, there are currently many – probably mainly older – certificate holders who want to sell their certificates. This offers opportunities for seed potato growers who would like to buy certificates’.

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‘The year of digital transformation’: Agrico presents new varieties on its online platform

Since last week, Agrico has been presenting its new varieties on its new online platform, agricopotatoes.com. This platform is also the next step in the digital transformation of the potato cooperative. Agrico has been organising a large and well-attended variety show in November for years now. Due to Covid-19, this meeting full of physical encounters was not an option this year. To maintain the moment of connection with its customers and to present its new varieties, the cooperative developed an online platform. Agrico has declared this season as the year of digital transformation.

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The Potato Field podcast: Amanda and Braydon Wakasugi

In this edition of Spudman magazine’s new podcast series, Amanda and Braydon Wakasugi join Spudman editor Zeke Jennings to discuss their multi-farm San Acacio Seed potato partnership in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. They talk about irrigation challenges in the valley, the diverse soil conditions and why being highly isolated is a big benefit for seed growers.

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HZPC’s first online Potato Days hugely successful; setting new standard for a new reality

The annual Potato Days event in Joure is a valued networking event attracting hundreds of growers and customers from many countries. This year, many more interested individuals from all over the world seized the opportunity to join the online Potato Days 2020, which took place live from a virtual studio, last Wednesday. At least 1300 people from the entire potato chain met each other in an interactive online setting where they experienced the event together. With Potato Days Live, HZPC says it sets a new standard that fits the current reality and the future.

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Yale and HZPC collaborate in quest for a better potato

Yale has a potato to call its own — two, in fact, and both varieties are already appearing in Yale dining halls, writes Brita Belli in a recent news article published by YaleNews. Through a partnership with Netherlands-based potato seed company HZPC, a Connecticut farm is growing special, nutrient-dense potatoes for the university that are tailor-made for the state’s climate and soil. The Jennifer potato, with its white skin and creamy texture, and the Maggie potato, with its yellow skin and buttery taste, are the first Yale-specific potatoes being grown from these seeds.

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Video: University of Idaho specialists conducting research projects on two seed potato viruses

Entomologists at the University of Idaho are leading ten state research projects focused on two viruses that can devastate seed potato farmers, according to a report by RFD-TV. In an interview with RFD-TV, Professor and project leader, Alexander Karasev says that one of their targets is potato mop-top virus, which has been found in six states. According to Karasev, “The second virus is potato virus Y. It can lead to a downgrade of seed potato loads, but also, a potato [infected with potato virus Y] may induce a disease which is called potato tuber necrotic ringspot disease, making fresh market tubers completely unusable.”

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Brexit: British seed potato sector on brink of EU and NI export ban

Britain’s seed potato sector is in turmoil, with just 10 weeks before exports to Europe and Northern Ireland (NI) face a total ban under a no-deal Brexit, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. As an EU member state, Britain has exported 30,000t of seed worth £13.5m to mainland Europe each winter. However, after 31 December, Britain will be classified under EU trade rules as a “third country” unless a trade deal is reached with the EU.

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First successful True Potato Seed (TPS) trial of Solynta and Solidaridad in Mozambique shows potential

A first pilot using True Potato Seed (TPS) in Angonia District, Tete province in Mozambique, conducted by Solidaridad and Solynta shows great potential to drastically improve and innovate potato production in Mozambique. The potato crop is increasingly important for nutrition security and farmer livelihoods in Mozambique and many countries in Africa. Between August 2019 and April 2020 Solidaridad Mozambique and Solynta executed the first hybrid TPS field trial ever in Mozambique: growing potatoes from true seeds rather than traditional seed potatoes.

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Pakistan to produce disease-resistant potato tubers using tissue culture technology

Tissue culture technology is being widely used for large-scale plant multiplication and gives a science-based solution for plant propagation, disease elimination and plant improvement, said Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan during an agreement signing ceremony between PARC and UAE-based Green System Pakistan Pvt Limited.

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Potato tuber treatment – specialist advice

Appropriate tuber treatment is an essential step in developing healthy and abundant harvests, according to potato specialists at AHDB in the UK. In a recent news article, AHDB says the cost of growing potatoes is likely to increase in the following years as a result of replacing lost chemicals; potential losses due to diseases must be avoided whenever possible through application of the correct treatment, starting with the seed. As this is a complex process, AHDB says potato seed producers, traders and end users are encouraged to seek information regarding the correct treatment procedure, such as the best time to apply the chemicals or the stage of the skin set.

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HZPC potato breeding company says it ‘closes eventful year with a healthy result’

The 2019/2020 financial year has been eventful in many respects for HZPC, the company says in a press release issued earlier today. HZPC says that despite the consequences of COVID-19, the company has had an operationally successful season. The coming season, however, may well be more of a challenge, HZPC says. The potato breeder says it is on the cusp of a season which encompasses a huge, global economic recession.

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UK: Improved ‘Safe Haven’ standards provide added protection for British seed potato exports

The certification scheme, ‘Safe Haven’, has recently been reviewed and updated to cover areas such as closer monitoring of water use and crop storage, AHDB says in a news release published yesterday. Administered by Red Tractor, the UK’s largest food standards scheme, Safe Haven protects against any pest or disease that can be imported or introduced by seed, AHDB says. The seed potato sector is important for the British potato industry as a whole as seed potatoes are a valuable export commodity.

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Zimbawean government embarks on potato seed production to curb imports

According to a report published by The Herald, the government in Zimbabwe, in cooperation with Kutsaga Research Station in the country has embarked on a potato seed multiplication programme – from mini-tuber to commercial seed potato. This programme was launched in response to a critical shortage of seed potatoes which resulted in the country importing 60 percent of its total requirement, mostly from South Africa.

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Project to research the viability of True Potato Seed in Canada’s far North

A pilot project that could improve food security in Canada’s North got the green light Monday, according to a report by CBC News. Jackie Milne, president of the Northern Farm Training Institute in Hay River, received $50,000 in funding from the government of the Northwest Territories to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists to identify the best potato seeds to produce potatoes in the North.

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Brexit woes: Why a ‘no deal’ could bring potato trade with EU to a halt

Potato seed and ware exports from the UK could be interrupted in a Brexit no deal scenario and there are signs that seed potato growers are looking to export potatoes before the transition period ends on December 31, writes Marianne Curtis in an article published by Farmers Guardian. Patrick Hughes, AHDB head of export trade development – potatoes, explains: “At the moment we don’t have third country equivalence and if there is no deal, it will not be in the offing straightaway. This would stop all exports of potatoes to the EU – both seed and ware.”

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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