A project run by Universal Robina Corp (URC) and the Philippine government has provided a valuable boost to the country’s potato growers during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2018 URC partnered with the government to launch the Sustainable Potato Programme to provide growers with quality potato seed, training and research.
HZPC realised that the financial year 2020/2021 would be difficult. Last year, the potato distributor was operating in a global economic recession. With enormous consequences for both multiple corporate sectors and for HZPC. However, there are always positives. Even now. “We have seen a rise in volume sales, we are proud to have started the Connective Growers programme and we are delighted with the efforts made to realise a competitive price for our growers,” says HZPC CEO, Gerard Backx.
The British ban on seed potatoes from the European Union is detrimental to the trade and cultivation in both Europe and the United Kingdom, writes David Stevenson in a news story for Talk Finance. A solution must be found, says Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Tom Bruijn. The ban on the marketing of seed potatoes is a political choice. It is the result of Brexit and not a technical issue, says Bruijn.
The British Potato Trade Association (BPTA) has written to its membership to warn against the potential use of imported ware potatoes as seed. Charlie Reeve writes in a news story for Farmers Weekly that complications following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU culminated in there being no access to imported seed potato supplies from the EU since 1 July this year, save for exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
During a special award ceremony on Wednesday September 1st, a professional jury awarded the PotatoEurope Gold Innovation Award to the Microtubers of E Green Global (EGG). Based on three criteria, namely innovativeness, potential impact in the potato market and applicability in the potato sector, the jury came to the decision to declare EGG Microtubers as the winner of the Golden Innovation Award.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) is banking on a high quality potato seed production and distribution deal with Syngenta Foundation to increase production five times to 10 million tons annually. The deal involves increasing high quality certified potato seed availability to farmers by 25 percent through rapid multiplication, increased field seed bulking, and capacity building of commercial seed growers in the country.
A move by Defra to block large-scale imports of seed potatoes originating from the European Union (EU) is creating new challenges for growers in Pembrokeshire. As Debbie James reports for Western Telegraph, with seed potatoes not included in the post-Brexit trade deal, applications to market imported seed potatoes from the EU will now only be considered on a “case-by-case’’ basis. Puffin Produce said the company was “working its way through it’’.
European potato growers want Scottish seed – and it is high time the trade with the continent was reinstated, reports Gordon Davidson in a news story for The Scottish Farmer. NFU Scotland vice president Andrew Connon has described the post-Brexit cessation of seed exports to Europe as ‘purely political and totally unacceptable’. market to Europe,” he stated.
Industry leaders have said they will push to reinstate Scotland’s valuable seed potato trade with Europe at the opening of Solana Seeds’ new Scottish base on Wednesday (August 11). NFU Scotland vice president Andrew Connon made the commitment as he officially opened the site at Wester Meathie, near Forfar.
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.
The Technico Group of Companies announced today that it is in the process of upgrading and commercialising its award winning TECHNITUBER Seed Potato Technology for suitable application across various geographic regions in the world. According to CEO Dr. Soundar Soundararadjane, “The TECHNITUBER® seed size of approximately 13mm, weighing a mere 1.5 grams, is viable enough to be planted at only approximately 100 kg per hectare. TECHNITUBER seeds are delivered pre-sprouted in ‘field ready’ conditions and are easily transported.
A trade row between Brussels and London threatened to erupt tonight after UK ministers banned the import of seed potatoes from EU countries in a victory for Scottish farmers. Defra restricted the imports of seed potatoes from the European Union after deciding not to renew a six-month authorisation. Scottish farming chiefs welcomed the news and claimed any extension to the grace period had the potential to “devastate” the industry.
Defra’s decision not to extend the derogation which allowed seed potatoes from Europe into the UK while Scottish growers were banned by the EU from trade in the opposite direction has been widely welcomed in the sector. But while the “both ways or no ways” decision on such trade might help stave off short-term disaster within the Scottish seed sector, commentators feel it will do little to restart the trade.
In a blog post on Global Food for Thought, guest authors Chris Kennedy and Bob Easter examine how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa can promote global food security. It has to start with good seed, they write. Their seed has to have the genetic traits to not only produce more grain or fruit or tubers, but it also has to have the traits that make the plant resistant to the crops’ natural enemies and climate threats.
Over three decades, Tasmanian-based business Agronico has shifted its focus from an agriculture consultancy business to all things mini tubers and seed potatoes. The business is always aiming to improve and is currently working on a five-year plan to enhance customer experience, while offering world-class procedures and facilities for seed potato storage.
Pakistani research facility produces disease free nuclear potato seed to boost production, self sufficiency
The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council has produced 150,000 nuclear potato tubers, which would help in producing over 50,000 tones of certified seed to help with boosting yields and the availability of disease free potato seed in the country. This milestone was achieved after the commercialization of potato tissue culture technology. The seed will now be provided to the private sector and individual growers to multiply the seed on their own for commercial production.
Less than a year after the opening of the World-class Scientific Center “Agrotechnologies for the Future”, Russian scientists had a breakthrough: the first-ever vertical farm with dynamic LED lighting. They presented the first pre-production prototype of a vertical farm. The rapid seed reproduction facility combines state-of-the-art digital technology with organic farming techniques, and have grown healthy potato seed for further multiplication in the field.
HZPC Americas announced earlier today that the company recently hired Jill Herold as a Key Account Manager. Jill brings over 18 years of experience in technical agronomy in potatoes, corn, soybean and other various crops, including several years focused on sustainability. “We’re thrilled to have Jill join our team.”, says Jeff Scramlin, President of HZPC Americas Corp. “Jill will be leading our commercial activities within the Processing Sector.
Dignitaries, researchers, and private sector representatives gathered this week in southwestern Georgia to celebrate the opening of potato seed model farm that will provide ideas, training and high-quality seed to potato farmers throughout the country. The seed model farm is one part of the USAID Potato Program in Georgia, a multi-faceted intervention to improve potato seed systems in the country. The International Potato Center (CIP) is leading the initiative.
With aphid migrations predicted to start imminently in the South of England and two to three weeks later in Scotland, potato growers must adopt a range of integrated pest management measures to minimise the yield and quality-robbing effects of the viruses that these airborne insects transmit, writes Ken Fletcher, editor at The Scottish Farmer, in this article.
Seed potato producers are leaving no stone unturned to slow the proliferation of virus in British stocks, with straw mulches and mineral oils set to compliment systemic insecticides as part of a robust integrated pest management (IPM) strategy this year, write Rob Jones and Lucy de la Pasture in this in-depth article, published by crop production magazine (CPM).
Agronomy expert: ‘Doing nothing is not an option – whole systems approach needed to reduce potato virus’
Writes Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist at Scottish Agronomy: “We have sprayed ourselves into resistance, and we need to be bolder in adopting natural measures into pest management if we’re to secure the health and quality of seed potatoes in Great Britain. The prevalence of virus in seed stocks is challenging the industry and we are at a tipping point. It’s clear that insecticides are not doing the job on their own anymore and that we need to do something differently.”
In Russia, HZPC is using an unconventional strategy to secure its seed potato trade with the country for the future: In 2019, a small breeding company was set up to provide Russian contract growers with pre-basis seed potatoes. In 2020, the production of mini-tubers was added too. These choices were made due to Russia’s aim to be entirely self-supporting within its borders and completely shut out the import of seed potatoes in due course.
There seems to be little hope for an imminent agreement between the EU and the UK on mutual trade in seed potatoes. If no agreement is reached on the phytosanitary preconditions for import and export, there is a good chance that the export of seed potatoes from EU countries to the UK will be resolutely closed on 1 July. This is what Dick Hylkema, director of the Dutch Potato Organization (NAO) fears.
Potatoes in the United States and Canada are a commodity. When selecting varieties, the colour of the skin tends to be the primary consideration. As new managing director of HZPC Americas Corp, Jeff Scramlin sees opportunities to increase market share by highlighting the distinguishing characteristics such as cooking types, flavors and textures. These efforts should help to de-commoditize potatoes, create demand and increase value through the chain in North America.
This past winter, two well known potato pathologists stated that the incidence of Dickeya dianthicola is declining in the U.S., writes Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist at the Ontario Potato Board, in a recent article. Dr. Banks is of the opinion that additional novel and potentially high virulent soft rot species probably remain to be discovered, and this high level of diversity will hinder the development of tolerant potato varieties. “This is not good news!,” Dr. Banks says.