Sustainability

Sustainable solutions: Netafim’s drip irrigation shows significant benefits for potato farmers and the environment

Netafim, a leader in precision agriculture, revealed a Life Cycle Analysis showing significant environmental benefits of drip irrigation for potato cultivation, especially in reducing Global Warming Potential (GWP) and water use compared to rain gun systems. The study, done with Potato Solutions and Drip UK, found drip irrigation reduces fresh potato GWP by 54% and water use for processing potatoes by 40%.

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Unraveling the origin and global spread of the potato blight pathogen

Researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute have challenged the theory that the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans originated in Mexico. They discovered it likely arose in the South American Andes, then spread globally, impacting potato crops. Using genotypic data from 1,706 isolates, they traced its migration to Peru, Colombia, and beyond. Understanding these migration patterns is vital for improving disease control and enhancing global food security.

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‘HCIP210’: The new potato variety set to significantly boost incomes of smallholder farmers in tropical regions

The Syngenta Foundation and the International Potato Center teamed up with HZPC to create HCIP210, a potato variety tailored for tropical climates. The public-private partnership known as TAP5. The new variety, developed in under eight years, offers higher yields and better disease resistance compared to older European varieties. HCIP210 meets market requirements with fewer inputs, supporting sustainable agriculture and smallholder farmers in the tropics.

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Bayer and Solynta collaborate to advance potato farming in India and Kenya with distribution of true potato seed

Bayer and Solynta have partnered to introduce true potato seed in Kenya and India, marking Bayer’s entry into the global potato seed market. This innovation allows farmers to use disease-free, durable seeds instead of traditional tubers, significantly reducing costs and improving crop resilience. Bayer will leverage its distribution networks to support smallholder farmers, enhancing food security and sustainability in the regions.

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Canada’s agricultural breakthrough: Tuberosum Technologies registers first ever True Potato Seed (TPS) varieties

Tuberosum Technologies has successfully registered four new True Potato Seed (TPS) varieties in Canada, marking a first for the country. These tetraploid TPS varieties enhance disease resilience, cost efficiency, and sustainability in potato farming. According to CEO Joel Van Der Schaaf, this milestone results from years of dedicated research and aims to improve crop quality and efficiency. The registration process involved the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s rigorous standards.

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Innovation in action: Australian farmers embrace innovative nitrogen alternative to boost yields and cut pollution

Australian farmers are turning to Lono, an innovative fertiliser by Levity Crop Science, to enhance sustainability and crop yields. Extensively trialed over two years, Lono provides stabilised amine nitrogen, improving plant growth and reducing pollution. Farmers report significant benefits, including higher yields and better soil quality. Lono’s success has driven high demand among growers, making it a key part of their agricultural practices.

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Potato alarm: NFU calls for action to save the great British potato

The UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU) warns that extreme weather, rising input costs, and trade issues threaten the future of British potatoes, a beloved food staple. Potato growers face production delays due to adverse weather and high costs, risking future supply. The NFU urges the government to implement policies to ensure water access, protect against pests, and allocate a robust agricultural budget. The decrease in grower confidence and reliance on risky imports compounds the crisis.

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WUR participates in major international research on climate-resilient crops

The Ancient Environmental Genomics Initiative for Sustainability (AEGIS) seeks to use historical DNA to devise more resilient crops. Wageningen University & Research, along with other institutions, will utilize a 78 million euro grant to analyze ancient DNA to understand past ecosystems and crop responses to climate change. This knowledge aims to reintroduce valuable genetic traits into modern crops, enhancing their resistance to diseases and climate stress.

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Volm Companies embraces sustainability: Key takeaways from the International Sustainability Summit and a call to action

The International Sustainability Summit in Vancouver saw industry leaders, including Volm Companies, focus on standardizing sustainability in the fresh produce sector. Highlights from Volm’s involvement include integrating sustainability into core business practices, fostering collaboration, and advocating for universal standards. Volm’s efforts include hiring dedicated staff, creating supplier codes, performing energy audits, and developing sustainable products.

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Ensuring safe food: FPS celebrates World Food Safety Day with focus on hygienic design and safety controls

In celebration of World Food Safety Day 2024, FPS Food Process Solutions (FPS) stresses the importance of hygienic design and critical safety controls in the food processing industry. With the theme “Food safety: prepare for the unexpected,” WHO highlights the shared responsibility of food businesses. FPS emphasizes traceability, accessibility, cleanability, and the need for thorough food safety preparation to prevent contamination and ensure consumer safety.

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Wyma champions sustainability in global food production with new comprehensive guide

Wyma, a leader in post-harvest equipment, released a sustainability guide highlighting the urgent need for innovative and efficient food production to address global challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity. By 2050, with an expected 35% population increase, food production must double. The guide emphasizes the importance of aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and underscores key strategies, including water conservation, handling and processing improvements, and sustainable land use, for a sustainable future.

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Sustainable spud success: New Zealand company’s gourmet potatoes shine in national awards

Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables Golden Gourmet potatoes, known for their sustainability and quality, won the Spirit of New Zealand Award at the Life and Leisure Magazine Outstanding Food Producer Awards. This Southbridge-based business, managed by the Oakley family, uses extensive soil testing, moisture probes, and solar power to support year-round production. Oakley’s marketing manager, April Oakley, highlighted the potatoes’ versatility and their commitment to sustainable practices.

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Potato storage breakthroughs: Innovative solutions from the North America Potato Storage Summit

A dedicated group of potato industry leaders is organizing the first North America Potato Storage Summit, focused on optimizing storage practices to reduce waste and enhance profitability. The Summit aims to bridge traditional and modern storage methods, share best practices, and promote sustainability. Interested individuals can join the Central Committee to shape the event’s agenda, with meetings scheduled for June 17 and July 23, 2024. For more information, visit www.napotatostoragesummit.org, and get in touch with Emily Merk on info@napotatostoragesummit.org.

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Dalhousie’s McCain Research Chair secures five more years of support from McCain Foods and Potatoes New Brunswick

McCain Foods and Potatoes New Brunswick have extended their support for Dalhousie University’s McCain Research Chair, reinforcing their commitment to sustainable agriculture and food security. Dr. Ahmad Al-Mallahi, holding this position since 2018, focuses on developing advanced agricultural technologies. His team has produced prototypes that optimize farm productivity and will continue for another five years.

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Spuds in crisis: Climate change hits European and global potato industry

Climate change is severely impacting potato crops globally, causing price surges and jeopardizing farmers’ livelihoods. Heavy rainfall, floods, and droughts have led to reduced yields, lower quality, and increased disease. From Canada’s significant losses to Europe’s crop declines and similar struggles in Africa and South America, the global potato industry is under stress. This crisis highlights the urgent need for action against climate change to protect food security and the agricultural sector.

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As the EU stalls, leading plant breeder warns that England must not let precision breeding opportunity slip

Nigel Moore highlights Britain’s opportunity to lead in plant breeding due to delays in the EU’s gene editing advancements. He expresses concerns over potential restrictive measures in the Precision Breeding Act’s secondary legislation, which may hinder the UK’s progress in agricultural innovation. Moore discusses the act’s attractiveness to investors and significant potential applications, such as enhanced crop yields. One potential application baby potatoes with ‘bunched’ root architecture which allow almost three times as many tubers to be produced from the same area of farmland.

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‘Nothing into something’: Little potatoes turn into big success for Canadian company

The Little Potato Company, established in 1996 in Edmonton by Angela Santiago and her father, has expanded significantly, inaugurating a new $39.5 million, 420,000-square-foot facility in Nisku, Alberta. This plant can distribute up to 125 million pounds of potatoes annually and features sustainable technologies like solar panels and water recycling. This development highlights Alberta’s flourishing agricultural sector.

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Navigating the green future: The Sustainability Consortium launches free Commodity mapping platform

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) has launched CommodityMap, a cloud-based platform that utilizes geospatial analytics to enhance sustainability in agricultural supply chains. This free, public tool provides insights, simplifies data collection with a proprietary model, and delivers science-based recommendations to improve supply chains. Supported by the Walmart Foundation, CommodityMap reflects TSC’s commitment to practical sustainability solutions, aiming to foster transparency and facilitate stakeholder collaboration towards a more sustainable consumer goods industry.

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‘The potato: A journey through time, cultures, and challenges’

This article, authored by Lukie Pieterse for UN Today, briefly explores the potato’s evolution from a wild Andean plant to a global dietary staple. Highlighting its historical and cultural significance, the piece delves into the crop’s role in human civilization, agricultural innovation, and its adaptability across varied climates. The narrative discusses the potato’s impact on societies, culinary traditions worldwide, and its ongoing adaptation to environmental challenges, as well as its crucial role in global food security and cultural diversity.

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‘From hand-pulling to high tech’: The balancing act of sustainable weed management in modern farming

Jon Entine’s article published by the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) discusses the evolution of weed management in agriculture, from primitive methods to modern biotechnological advances. While chemical herbicides and GM crops have increased yields and efficiency, concerns about environmental and health impacts persist. Organic advocates promote more sustainable practices like crop rotation and biological controls. Entine stresses the need for an evidence-based, integrated approach combining traditional and innovative methods to ensure agriculture’s sustainability and safety.

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Pioneering study highlights need for climate-resilient potato cultivars amidst global warming

A study by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, published in Frontiers in Plant Science, reveals significant challenges potato cultivation faces due to climate change. The research team underscores the importance of developing stress-tolerant potato varieties to maintain global food security amid rising temperatures, drought, and increased pest incidences. The study includes advancements in understanding potato plants’ molecular responses to environmental stress, critical for breeding resilient cultivars.

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‘Beyond the plow’: Exploring reduced tillage strategies and techniques in modern potato farming

Reduced tillage practices are increasingly being implemented by potato growers for environmental and crop productivity benefits. Lukie Pieterse’s article delves into these methods, emphasizing their role in sustainable agriculture by enhancing soil health, decreasing erosion, and improving biodiversity. Covering strip tillage, zone tillage, and no-till, the article discusses the methods’ ability to maintain soil structure, increase carbon sequestration, and facilitate resilience to climate variability.

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Soil health reimagined: Key practices for a thriving agricultural future

Helen Holman of Emerald Research emphasizes the importance of soil health, which requires soils to thrive, not just survive, for sustainable agriculture. She outlines five key indicators of healthy soil: structure, chemistry, organic matter, and water management. To improve soil health, Holman suggests increasing organic matter, promoting microbial activity, and understanding soil chemistry. Regular soil testing is advised for optimized crop nutrition and overall farm management success. Holman stresses soil health as crucial asset management in agriculture.

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Unveiling the layers of regenerative agriculture: Promises and challenges

Regenerative agriculture, focusing on soil health and reduced synthetic input reliance through diverse cover crops, is gaining attention. Andrew McGuire of CSANR critically analyzes its principles and claims in his article, distinguishing it from sustainable agriculture. Its promise and practicality are debated, with success stories tempered by research on widespread implementability. McGuire is inspired by Gabe Brown, a prominent figure in the movement.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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