Unlocking the potential of the humble spud: Scientists explore ways to climate-proof potatoes

Potatoes, the world’s fourth most important crop, are under threat from climate change, with rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and extreme weather challenging production. This article by Lukie Pieterse reviews strategies for enhancing potato resilience, such as breeding climate-tolerant varieties and adopting biotechnology and sustainable practices. Collaborative efforts are vital to secure this staple food’s future, ensuring global food security amidst a changing climate.

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Soaring spuds: Prices at record highs in the UK as supply tightens and imports increase

The price of English white potatoes reached a record £570/MT with a 90% increase y-o-y. Maris Piper potatoes are at £610/MT, a 144% rise, yet trade is low. Prices could climb before 2024 as stocks are withheld. UK imports continue, priced £520-£600/MT. England has begun planting, but Scotland faces planting delays, potentially affecting the 2024 harvest. (Credit: Mintec)

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Study predicts significant future decline in potato yields on Prince Edward Island due to climate change

Researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island predict significant declines in potato yields due to climate change. Published in the journal Foods, the study forecasts a 6-10% decrease in yields under low-emission scenarios, and up to a 60% drop by the 2070s under high emissions, possibly reaching an 80% reduction by the 2090s. The study underlines temperature increases and variable precipitation as major factors affecting growth and urges the implementation of adaptation strategies.

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The role of potatoes in food security and nutrition worldwide: An in-depth analysis

Lukie Pieterse of Potato News Today highlights the potato’s vital role in global food security and nutrition. Rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, potatoes yield more food per area than wheat and rice, thrive in diverse environments, and have a long shelf life, bolstering food availability. Accessible and affordable, they support vulnerable populations’ caloric needs and overall health. Despite challenges like post-harvest losses, promoting diverse preparation methods and sustainable practices can enhance potatoes’ role in a balanced diet and help combat global hunger.

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1,4GROUP reinforces North American potato industry: Shifts CIPC production to the U.S.

1,4GROUP has relocated chlorpropham production to the US following its European ban, ensuring supply for North American customers. The EPA and PMRA have approved the new US production site, maintaining the availability of this crucial sprout inhibitor. CEO Elfering expresses gratitude to the agencies and reaffirms commitment to quality products for the potato industry.

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Unprecedented weather conditions disrupt potato planting in Ireland and across Europe, market gap looms

Extreme weather in Ireland is causing delays in potato planting, impacting the national economy. The Irish Farmers Association reports excessive rainfall leading to minimal progress and potential market shortages. Similar issues are occurring across Europe, constricting current potato stocks with main processors trying to mitigate supply chain disruptions. The situation reflects the strong link between climate and agricultural stability.

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Potato farming under the microscope: The latest in disease detection technologies

Potato farming is integral to global agriculture, ranking fourth in food crops. It faces challenges, notably diseases caused by pathogens like fungi and viruses, leading to economic and food security issues. Innovation in disease detection through AI and deep learning, such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), is revolutionizing crop management by enabling early, accurate diagnosis and targeted treatments. Advances in drone and smartphone technology further aid in comprehensive, real-time monitoring, ushering in precision agriculture and sustainability.

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Potato planting in peril: Irish farmers face uncertain future amidst wet weather woes

Irish potato farmers face a crisis as incessant rain delays planting, jeopardizing this year’s crop and market supply. Seasoned growers like Meath’s Ivan Curran and Louth’s Maria Flynn confront the worst conditions in decades, with the crucial weeks ahead being vital for deciding the availability of supermarket and specialty potatoes, such as those used by Tayto crisps.

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Potato market dynamics: Egypt’s currency woes, Ukraine’s import surge

Currency devaluation in Egypt has cheapened its potato exports, spiking international market demand but raising domestic supply concerns. Meanwhile, Ukraine experiences a market downturn with rising potato imports, mainly from the EU, lowering local prices. These cases reflect the global potato market’s susceptibility to economic, policy, and trade variables, highlighting the necessity for sustainable agriculture and resilient economic strategies.

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Potato farming reimagined: Navigating the future of potato production with advanced technologies

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today, elucidates the agricultural revolution transforming potato farming. The advancement integrates drones and AI, creating a synergy between traditional methods and technology. This modern approach optimizes aspects like irrigation and pest control, leading to sustainable practices and higher yields. Collaborative efforts, including enhanced accessibility and training, are key to overcoming technical and financial hurdles. These innovations promise to redefine the potato industry as we know it.

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The future of potato consumption: Trends in fast food and fine dining

The potato’s journey from its Andean origins to a global staple showcases its agricultural, cultural, and culinary impact. Initially spread across Europe in the 16th century, this versatile crop now graces both fast-food menus and fine dining tables worldwide. Its adaptability, nutritional value, and potential for culinary innovation keep it relevant amid shifts towards sustainability, plant-based diets, and technological advancements in agriculture and cooking. The potato’s story reflects human innovation and resilience, with an ongoing global odyssey that continues to evolve.

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American farmlands face crisis: Soil erosion outpaces regeneration

Mihai Andrei’s ZME Science article reports severe soil erosion in the US Midwest, exacerbated by agriculture, with losses up to 1,000 times the rate of natural replenishment. Highlighting a critical threat to food sustainability, Andrei emphasizes the urgency for sustainable farming practices, like no-till methods and cover cropping. He urges action from policymakers, researchers, and consumers to preserve topsoil and ensure long-term food security.

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British farmers issue stark warning they could run out of potatoes

British farmers warn of a potential shortage of potatoes following a record low harvest of 4.1 million tonnes due to heavy rains and storms. Storage supplies may not meet future demand, with prices already up by over 20%. There’s a chance British potatoes might run out by summer, possibly being replaced by Egyptian varieties.

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Potato pressure: Ireland and Europe grapple with tightening stocks, seed unavailability and unpredictable weather

The latest IFA weekly potato report highlights increased local potato demand in Ireland due to colder weather, causing price hikes and low stocks. Seed potato scarcity presents a potential crisis for future crops. European potato exports remain high despite rising prices affecting Eastern European sales. The UK’s potato planting is delayed by wet conditions, further complicating the market.

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The great potato shortage: European processors scramble as supply dwindles and prices surge

Due to poor weather affecting harvests and storability, there’s a tightening supply of free-buy potatoes in the EU, driving up prices. As of February 2024, Dutch processing potatoes hit a record February high of €37.5/100kg. The processing industry is strained, with increased imports and a 10.8% production drop. Losses are estimated at 650 thousand tonnes, heightening competition and prices for remaining stocks.

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Rising prices and tightening stocks: Ireland’s potato situation echoes across the UK and Europe

Ireland’s potato industry is grappling with dwindling stocks and empty grower stores, as highlighted by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). Difficult harvesting has led to clay-contaminated potato boxes, reducing saleable yields and pushing up prices. This trend is echoed across Europe, with rising processing potato prices and cautious market responses. The U.K.’s planting delays may further strain the tight potato supply and inflate prices, affecting everyone from farmers to consumers.

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A-INSIGHTS hosts exclusive webinar: Exploring ‘Trends of the Frozen Potato Industry’

A-INSIGHTS announces a free webinar on March 28th, focusing on the frozen potato industry’s trends and forecasts. Analyst Mathieu Geuskens will explore 2023 supply-demand, 5-year projections, local initiatives’ effects, and sustainability practices. The online event aims to transform public data into growth opportunities for food businesses. Register to learn from A-INSIGHTS, a firm with over 15 years of sector experience.

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‘The golden crop’: New report details how the U.S. potato industry bolsters the economy and job market

The National Potato Council’s report, prepared by Michigan State University economists, highlights the significant economic role of the U.S. potato industry, worth $100.9 billion. With $2.2 billion in exports from July 2022 to June 2023, accounting for 20% of U.S. potato production, these exports underpin substantial domestic activity and jobs—nearly $4.78 billion in economic contribution and about 33,846 jobs. The potato industry at large supports over 714,000 jobs across the nation.

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Angry French farmers drive their tractors into Paris in fresh protests

In Paris, dozens of tractors, organized by Rural Coordination, a farmers’ union, peacefully entered a western neighborhood, showcasing their protest with a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. This follows their earlier roadblocks around Paris, lifted after the government’s €400 million offer to address issues like low earnings and strict regulations. Their recent actions on highways around Paris reflect a wider European agricultural protest against EU policies and challenging business conditions, emphasizing the crisis in agriculture.

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Moderate seed potato crop in Western Europe results in historic high prices, lower acreage expected in 2024

Seed potato acreage in the Netherlands, Germany, and France is declining, hitting less than 40,000 hectares in the Netherlands, a trend continuing for the third year. Wouter Mutsaers of Q-potato Holland highlights difficulties in managing increased disease pressure and reduced quality and quantity of seed potatoes due to poor conditions. Despite high prices, acreage is not expanding as usual, raising concerns over the supply for ware potato cultivation next season.

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‘Tiny titans of the farm’: Nanotechnology poised to revolutionize agriculture, but cautious steps needed

Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Central University of Kerala anticipate nanotechnology will significantly advance agriculture, as detailed in their review published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Research. Nanotech approaches, like nano-fertilizers, biosensors, and enhanced seeds, aim to improve yields, reduce environmental impact, and combat food insecurity due to climate change and population growth. However, challenges such as potential nanoparticle toxicity, ethical issues related to accessibility, and ecological effects must be addressed responsibly.

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The dawn of nano-agriculture: How nanotechnology is shaping sustainable farming

A study in Agronomy journal details how nanotechnology, dubbed ‘nanofarming’, can transform agriculture, addressing issues like soil degradation and crop protection. The review discusses nanofertilizers, nanopesticides, and nano-enhanced soil, emphasizing the need to balance the benefits with potential risks like nanopollution. It aligns nanofarming with sustainability goals and advocates for further research to optimize its use, highlighting its role in achieving food security amidst environmental challenges.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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