Sustainability

Backing up biodiversity: CIP deposits potato seed in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The International Potato Center (CIP) recently joined 34 other organizations across the globe in depositing more than 60,000 seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a biodiversity bunker in a mountainside of an Arctic island in Norway. That mass deposit of seeds of an array of crops helped raise the number of samples stored in Svalbard to more than one million, but for the CIP genebank, it was just the latest such delivery in an ongoing effort to back up its extensive collections of potato, sweetpotato, Andean roots and tubers, and the wild relatives of those crops.

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In India’s Assam state, potatoes are grown with no-tillage; growers receive post-harvest training

As farmers look to grow more food for their families and the marketplace, increasing production sustainably remains a consistent challenge. But a CIP project in Assam state in India has discovered an easy way to produce an annual crop of potatoes with no-tillage and very few additional inputs. For the first time in the State, a day-long training of post-harvest management of potato was recently conducted.

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Research study shows universally positive effect of cover crops on soil microbiome

Only a fraction of conventional row crop farmers grow cover crops after harvest, but a new global analysis from the University of Illinois shows the practice can boost soil microbial abundance by 27%. The result adds to cover crops’ reputation for nitrogen loss reduction, weed suppression, erosion control, and more. Although soil microbial abundance is less easily observed, it is a hugely important metric in estimating soil health.

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Agriculture’s new apps: Precision innovation to feed the world

Precision weather tracking, ‘blood pressure monitoring’ for plants and complex nutrient analysis apps are now the must-have tools for modern farmers. With agriculture using 70% of the world’s?freshwater resources and severely degrading one third of the earth’s land through over-fertilisation, such innovations are vital. Video: Meet the Agricultural Scientists changing the way we are fed, one field at a time.

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How the humble potato changed the world

In his 1957 essay collection Mythologies, the French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes called chips (la frite), a food that comes from a crop native to the Americas, “patriotic” and “the alimentary sign of Frenchness”. Despite its origins in the Andes, it’s an incredibly successful global food Just a century earlier, a potato disease prompted a famine that halved Ireland’s[Read More…]

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Australian companies offer commercial opportunities for potato waste

Four of the largest potato producers in Australia want to convert 100 per cent of their potato waste into commercial benefit through their partnership with the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Over the next three years, The Mitolo Group, Zerella Fresh, Thomas Foods International Fresh Produce, The South Australian Potato Company, together with Industry Association; Potatoes South Australia[Read More…]

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Convenience, sustainability, recyclable options driving latest potato packaging design

The challenge to creating a compelling package for potatoes is complex, because bags must protect product integrity while attracting a shopper’s attention, says Jeff Watkin, marketing director with Collinsville, Ill.-based packaging manufacturer Sev-Rend Inc. told The Packer magazine in a recent interview., One challenge Sev-Rend has met involves a bag that prevents greening and preserves the potatoes’ shelf life, he said.[Read More…]

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Sustainable technology company successfully converts Lay’s potato chip bag to make plastic bottles

New York-based sustainable technology company Anellotech has announced that a laboratory demonstration of its latest technology, which transforms mixed plastic waste directly into chemicals, successfully converted a Lays (PepsiCo) barbeque potato chip bag into paraxylene, the primary chemical used to make virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for beverage bottles. [PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common plastic for single-use bottled beverages, because it[Read More…]

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Ireland: Second lowest acreage of potatoes planted in 2019

The area of potatoes planted in Ireland in 2019 was the second lowest on record, after 2018, which was the lowest on record. There was also a further decrease in the plantings of traditional varieties such as Kerr’s Pink and Golden Wonders. Speaking at the recent National Potato conference in Dublin IFA president Tim Cullinan said farmers continue to be the[Read More…]

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CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]

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Input suppliers, govt and industry stakeholders collaborate to boost yields of potato farmers in Kenya

In Kenya, potatoes are a key staple food, second only to maize. Yet its potato value chain has been underdeveloped for decades. This has been acknowledged by the Kenyan government. Over the past years, it has been investing in the potato sector in order to realize an increase of output per hectare and a growth in potato smallholders’ income. Last[Read More…]

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Marais Group in France to introduce 'eco-responsible' packaging for Noirmoutier potatoes

The Marais Group, a producer, packer and shipper of fresh vegetables in France, announced that it will be introducing several innovations in the area of ‘eco-responsible’ packaging. The company says it will be using ‘eco-friendly’ wooden and cardboard packaging for the next Noirmoutier potato harvest at the end of February. According to a press release, the company changed packaging as[Read More…]

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The Potato Sustainability Alliance: New organization drives sustainability in the potato sector

Key players in the U.S. and Canadian potato industries announced at Potato Expo earlier this year the creation of a new organization dedicated to sustainability in the potato sector, the Potato Sustainability Alliance.  “Ten years ago, a group of potato processors, farmers, distributors and a major restaurant chain collaborated to create the Potato Sustainability Initiative,” said Ed Schneider of Schneider[Read More…]

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SoilBio: New groundbreaking tool for assessing soil health

SoilBio is a new indicator of soil health, based on the most comprehensive UK soil testing investigation to date. It was developed by SoilEssentials, a company specializing in precision farming products and services. SoilBio is said to be “a ground-breaking new test to understand the biodiversity of your soil and measure the quality for long-term, good soil management.” Natasha Foote of EURACTIV.com[Read More…]

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Smart farming: Prince Edward Island potato growers using new decision support tools to improve use of crop protectants

A growing number of Prince Edward Island potato farms in Canada are taking advantage of new technology to improve their use of crop protectants, including fungicides used to prevent late blight. Late blight has historically been a major disease effecting potatoes in Prince Edward Island, with the potential to cause millions of dollars in crop losses if there is a[Read More…]

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Agrico demonstrates its contribution to sustainable potato cultivation during Fruit Logistica event

Global potato seed and variety company Agrico exhibited at Fruit Logistica in Berlin last week – Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 February 2020. During this leading international trade event, Agrico and its subsidiaries demonstrated the company’s successful contribution to sustainable potato cultivation for the ‘Next Generation’. Agrico named its strategy for 2020-2030 “good growth“. Their responsibility towards people, the planet[Read More…]

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British expert blasts approach of Dutch potato growers who are acting ‘insane’

Dutch potato producers have been accused of putting the efficacy of the industry’s limited number of fungicides at risk through “irresponsible” practices. Growers attending the SAC Association of Potato Producers conference at Scone heard independent agronomist Denis Buckley describe the Dutch approach to fungicide application as “insane and irresponsible”, even as the industry “hangs on for dear life” to the[Read More…]

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The science of glyphosate: Is glyphosate hazardous to soil health?

There are dozens of conspiracy theories about glyphosate, writes Robert Arnason in an article in The Western Producer. He says one of those theories goes something like this: glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is an antibiotic and it kills all of the beneficial bacteria and fungi in soils. “It makes the soil sterile in some cases leading to less[Read More…]

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Kompuestos unveils potato-based bioplastic

Kompuestos, a producer of sustainable plastic compounds, has developed a bioplastic made entirely from potato starch which reportedly biodegrades in four weeks. The formulation of this bioplastic, which is part of Kompuestos’ Biokomp range, aims to replace traditional supermarket plastic bags for fruit and vegetables and thus significantly reduce carbon footprint. This and three other products of the company’s Biokomp range[Read More…]

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UK: RBR Crops to stop growing potatoes

Hort News reports that Norfolk potato supplier RBR Crops says it will stop growing potatoes in order to concentrate on more profitable merchant, seed, storage and consultancy activities, and that sadly ten jobs will be lost with the changes. The company, which was founded in 1965, says the decision has been driven by continued cost pressures, the price of rented[Read More…]

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Rathenau Institute: 'Hybrid potato breeding offers worldwide opportunities'

Hybrid potato breeding can contribute to environmental sustainability and food security. It also offers opportunities for the global market. Timely steering is essential if these opportunities are to be seized. For example, the Dutch potato sector and authorities must keep innovating and investing in knowledge development. The Rathenau Institute in the Netherlands did some research. This was into the socio-economic[Read More…]

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Potato late blight in Europe: The hard science

Didier Andrivon from INRA delves into the disease that once killed 1.5 million individuals in Ireland: Potato late blight, also known as Phytophthora Infestans It would be easy to think that a disease peaking over one hundred years ago is no longer a problem, but potato late blight continues to evolve and emerge in new places – similarly to the insidious reach of[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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