Southeast Asian fast-food chains are being hit by a shortage of French fries as supply-chain snarls slow shipments of the frozen item from the U.S. and Europe. Signs at some of Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC outlets in Singapore informed customers that the company would replace side orders of fries with potato waffles due to a “global supply disruption.”
Uncertain potato quality due to harsh weather conditions last summer and suboptimal harvest conditions are expected to lead to an earlier-than-usual demand for imported potatoes as has already been witnessed by growing interest in the produce of Atzmona Potatoes Production L.T.D, a leading Israeli supplier of regular and organic potatoes and carrots.
The Farm Bureau says potatoes have been able to buck the price drop trend amongst vegetables. The 2% smaller crop from 2020 (a fourth consecutive annual decline) combined with strong North American and international processing demand lifted U.S. seasonal-average potato prices above $10/cwt for an average 14% price increase between 2020 and 2021.
“This is a devastating week for potato farmers in Prince Edward Island. The worst-case scenario for any farmer is happening across the province – the destruction of safe and healthy food,” says the Prince Edward Island Potato Board in a press release. PEI growers have more than 300 million pounds of potatoes with nowhere to go, and farmers are left with no other options.
“Prince Edward Island (PEI) farmers put everything that they have into their crops and many families’ livelihoods depend on this industry. I know the disruption to trade due to the United States’ concerns over potato wart has touched the lives of so many Islanders, from multi-generational family farms, to packers, processors, shippers, and more. What should have been a great year for PEI has turned into an incredibly difficult one.
“There is nothing a sovereign government loves better than a pretext for good old trade protectionism,” writes Greg Donald, general manager of the PEI Potato Board in a Toronto Star opinion piece. “Maddeningly, the pretext is nonsense, unsupported by science. Unfortunately, it was originally provided to the Americans by our own federal government,” Donald writes.
Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), announced that the United States has agreed to resume imports of Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into Puerto Rico starting tomorrow. AAFC says “the Government of Canada has been taking a science-based approach with the United States to provide the necessary assurances that would allow for the resumption of trade for PEI’s high-quality fresh potatoes.”
The National Potato Council (NPC) today released a statement in response to news of the resumption of trade of table stock potatoes from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, into Puerto Rico. “We trust USDA and CFIA have put plans in place to strictly prohibit the resale of fresh potatoes to the mainland in order to prevent the potential spread of disease to U.S. potato farms,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the resumption of tablestock potatoes from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, into Puerto Rico. USDA has determined the importation of these potatoes under specified conditions poses little risk of introducing potato wart disease, a soil-borne disease that reduces yield and marketability, to Puerto Rico.
In the last couple of months, McDonald’s and KFC outlets in countries across the globe have begun scrimping on French fries and other potato-based products. Writing for Modern Farmer, author Dan Nosowitz pointed to a “lack of versatility” in the global agricultural trade as the root of current problems, as opposed to a shortage of potatoes themselves.
Prince Edward Island potato growers in Canada have submitted their applications to dispose of some of the potatoes left unsold because of the export ban to the United States, as Nancy Russell reports for CBC News. The closure leaves Island farmers with an estimated 300 million pounds of potatoes they cannot sell.
Scotland is particularly poorly served by the low standards of export facilities available at the country’s ports – its sub-standard transport and supply chain logistics have added to an already difficult situation for the country’s seed potato industry. This lack of comparable facilities and network infrastructure to those enjoyed by the competition in Holland and other European countries has stymied efforts to make good the loss of EU markets.
Earlier this week, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, along with Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture and Land Bloyce Thompson, announced details on the Surplus Potato Management Response plan in a press release. As part of this plan, the Government of Canada will provide up to $28 million and the Province of PEI up to $12.2 million.
Post-Spudpocalyptic world: ‘It’s like oranges in Florida, grapes for California – this is their livelihood’
The “Spudpocalyse” could at last be over. American and Canadian officials are moving to overcome an impasse that has curbed potato trade from Prince Edward Island (PEI) over the past two months, Canada’s agriculture chief told The Hill on Friday. “To Prince Edward Island, it’s catastrophic,” said Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. “It is like oranges in Florida, grapes for California. This is their livelihood.
Canada’s Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says potato exports can resume as soon as the U.S. reviews and approves data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, according to a report by the CBC.
Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato growers in Canada reacted with relief and optimism to news out of Washington Thursday that an end to the export ban to the United States is in sight. Canada’s agriculture minister said she’s optimistic that shipments of Island potatoes will start to head to Puerto Rico within two weeks, and the mainland states shortly after that.
The federal agriculture minister in Canada says she’s optimistic that shipments of Prince Edward Island potatoes will start to head to Puerto Rico within two weeks, and to the mainland U.S. shortly after that, ending a ban in place since November.
A valuable cargo of premium Scottish seed potatoes has reportedly been turned back from Egypt, at a cost traders estimate to be in the region of £1.5 million. It is understood 1,500 tonnes of Hermes seed potatoes from five or six suppliers is currently in limbo in Alexandria, after the load was rejected by Egyptian authorities because it failed to meet a December export deadline by one day.
Truckloads of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potatoes have started to arrive at food banks across Canada, part of an effort to distribute potatoes left sitting in Island warehouses because of the 10-week ban on exports to the United States. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, the P.E.I. Potato Board is helping to co-ordinate the shipments, along with two of the country’s largest food bank organizations, with funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The loss of the European export market following Brexit represented a blow to Scottish seed potato growers, but the sector faces a number of additional challenges to its continued existence, a major potato conference heard yesterday. The lack of transport infrastructure and port facilities suitable to allow growers to secure new export markets, the inexorable rise in the area of land infected by potato cyst nematode were revealed as major hurdles faced by the industry
Growers of ware potatoes in England and Wales are allowed to import seed potatoes directly from the Netherlands. At the request of the Dutch Potato Organization (NAO), the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has investigated the possibilities for exporting Dutch seed potatoes to the United Kingdom.
Prince Edward Island potato farmers in Canada are warning Americans in advertisements that a “Spudpocalypse” is nigh. Privately, in a letter to government officials, they’re placing some of the blame for the potato disaster on the federal government’s Ministry of Agriculture.
In search of ‘The Potatonator’: Where’s ‘Captain Canada’ on the potato crisis in Prince Edward Island?
Mike Nabuurs, P. Ag., of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, is a commercial and agri-business manager with one of the big five chartered banks and a past executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture. He wrote an op-ed piece on the potato wart ban in Prince Edward Island that was published by Saltwire today – here is a brief excerpt.
Increasingly, the economic hardship in Algeria is being measured by the shortage of a staple product that is a key ingredient in such national dishes as tagine or chtitha batata: the potato. Indeed, the price of potatoes has almost tripled on the Algerian market in just a few months, becoming a symbol of the nation’s deteriorating economic situation, stirring up anger within modest households and igniting the risk of street protests.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly update that reports from growers indicate indicate that quality issues are emerging around Ireland and saleable yields are significantly reduced as a result. Processing factories are running to capacity and sales of product within and outside Europe are now almost back to pre-Covid levels.
A Prince Edward Island company has brokered a deal to send as many as 700 tractor trailer loads of surplus P.E.I processing potatoes to Lamb Weston’s french fry plant in Canada’s Alberta province. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, the deal was put together by Terry Curley of Monaghan Farms, who is part of a working group set up to deal with the potato wart crisis in Prince Edward Island.
Potato importers in Puerto Rico say they are not able to fill their orders to supermarkets on the Caribbean island because they can’t get enough supply to fill the void created by the export ban on Prince Edward Island potatoes. “We are in a bad, bad situation right now,” said Mark Antunez, president of Antunez & Son Produce, who has been importing from P.E.I. since 1988.
In December, McDonald’s Japan announced that it would be suspending sales of all French fry orders except smalls due to a potato shortage. Now, rival Japanese fast food chain Freshness Burger announced it will be increasing the amount of French fires in its regular and large-size orders, as well as its combo meals, by 25 percent and without increasing the price.