Trends

‘Waste less’: New U of I potato storage researcher aims to minimize post-harvest losses

Gustavo Teixeira knows the best way to supply more food to a growing population is by wasting less of it. As a new assistant professor and potato postharvest physiologist with University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Teixeira will use advanced scientific techniques to help Idaho potato growers, processors and shippers waste fewer of the spuds they harvest.

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Why spuds are cheap as chips in the UK – while wheat prices rocket

Commodities markets are in uproar, wheat prices have reached record highs and the cost of food is rocketing. “Yet the humble spud – a staple grown on our doorstep – is still cheap and plentiful,” writes Sarah Chambers in a news story for East Anglian Daily Times. This year’s East Anglian potato crop is looking very promising. But prices are low – making some of the farmers’ crops uneconomical.

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Japan’s top potato chip maker Calbee to raise prices up to 20%

Calbee Inc., Japan’s answer to Frito-Lay with an enormous product line-up ranging from pizza-flavored potato chips to low-carb granola, is raising prices again as companies struggle to absorb costs that are climbing at the fastest clip in years. As Lily Nonomiya reports for Bloomberg News, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Wednesday it will raise the prices of snacks and cereals in Japan by 5% to 20% from September.

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‘Progress Together’: Lamb Weston issues new sustainability report

Lamb Weston Holdings issued its third annual Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) report today, reporting progress against 2030 ESG goals announced in its last report. “Our teams are committed to working together to make progress against our ambitious 2030 goals,” said Tom Werner, CEO, Lamb Weston. “We’re focused on our long-term future, which means making meaningful changes to reduce our impact on the environment.”

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Sharp increase in packing costs for Idaho potato growers

The cost of packing Idaho’s most famous commodity, potatoes, has risen at least 36 percent over the past two years. That’s according to a new report funded by the Idaho Grower Shippers Association (IGSA), which represents shippers, growers, marketers and processors of Idaho potatoes. “That’s a pretty big increase,” said IGSA President Shawn Boyle. “It’s pretty drastic.”

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FAO Director-General: ‘Doubling global potato production in 10 years is possible’

Potatoes could contribute even more to world history and global food security, and total production of the food crop could double in the next 10 years, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said in his keynote presentation to the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC), which was convened in Dublin at the end of May.

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University of Idaho researchers aiding in development of solar-powered weeding robot

A pair of researchers from University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are partnering with a Washington company to develop a solar-powered robot that will rove autonomously through farm fields and eradicate weeds. The company behind the project, Aigen, based in Kirkland, Washington, hopes to have a prototype of the robot finished by late this summer. The robot will have wheels and will be roughly the size of a shopping cart, rolling between rows in farm fields before crop canopies close.

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McCain Foods India releases second edition of Sustainability Report

McCain Foods has launched the second edition of the India Sustainability Report 2021 – titled ‘Together-Towards Planet-Friendly Food’ earlier this week, highlighting the steps taken by the company towards delivering planet-friendly food, encouraging the use of sustainable practices and helping communities thrive with a sustainable livelihood.

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McCain switching from coal to woodchips to make potato chips in New Zealand

A $5.6 million project to eliminate CO2 emissions and reduce demand for heating fuel at McCain’s Timaru factory in New Zealand will soon use woodchips to make potato chips. As Yashas Srinivasa reports for Stuff.co.nz, the company is converting its boiler from coal to domestically sourced woodchips, which will help McCain reduce its carbon emissions by approximately 30,000 tonnes per year.

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McCain announces new ‘Farm of the Future’ in South Africa at critical moment for the global food system

McCain Foods Limited has unveiled plans for a second ‘Farms of the Future’ in South Africa, as part of its drive to cut carbon emissions and tackle the impacts of climate change. At Farm of the Future Africa, the potential to grow multiple crops per year, innovate with irrigation technology in a water-scarce region as well as the challenges arising from the presence of soil-borne pests and diseases make it the ideal location for transferring learning to other parts of the world

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World Potato Congress Inc. launches the Declaration of Dublin to advance UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 through the potato

On the last day of the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC) in Dublin, Ireland, WPC President Romain Cools, called in the WPC Declaration of Dublin upon the global potato value chain to invest in ‘potato solutions’ to advance the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. In his opening address, the WPC President concluded that local food production in general and potatoes more specifically must be intensified to assure food security and reduce dependency from international trade.

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Potato planted area in Europe forecast to remain stable amid increased input costs

According to market participants, preliminary estimations show that there is expected to be a marginal growth in the area devoted to potato production, if any, within Europe for the upcoming 2022/23 season. As Mintec reports, growers have faced significant rises in various input costs, including fuel, fertiliser, electricity and labour, and this is expected to have influenced planting decisions for the 2022/23 potato season.

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Little city creating $69mil solar farm on Canada’s main potato producing province

A new $69 million dollar solar farm is taking shape in Summerside, a little city on Prince Edward Island in Canada – population about 15,000 people. The solar farm is reportedly covering 30 hectares, and, by the end of this year, featuring more than 65,000 solar panels. The project is called Sunbank, and the city is banking on it moving them one step closer to energy self-sufficiency.

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‘Leading with purpose, not profit’: Canada’s first plastic-free packaged, organic potato chip company launches

Humble Snacks, Inc., based in Canada’s Ontario province, is disrupting the snack industry with the Humble Potato Chips, Canada’s first plastic-free packaged, organic potato chips. Founded by Jeff and Alicia Lahey, the chips – made from locally sourced, organic potatoes – are traditionally cooked with the skins and lightly dusted with seasoning, as Nithya Caleb reports for Food in Canada magazine.

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EuroBlight reports on results of the 2021 European potato late blight monitoring

EuroBlight, a late blight monitoring network for Europe, is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen. Euroblight has now released a report detailing the results of the 2021 monitoring activities. Approximately 2500 samples from 26 countries were genotyped. According to the report, blight pressure in 2021 was higher than average across many parts of Europe.

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Viewpoint: ‘The reinvention of agriculture’

International economist Steven Cerier writes in this article, published by Genetic Literacy Project, that agriculture must become more productive to feed a growing world population. This can only be accomplished by the further application of science and technology, “and not as some suggest by going backwards in time to a much simpler and idealized form of farming that shuns the use of biotechnology and technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots and microchips…”

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World Bank: Fertilizer prices expected to remain higher for longer

In the third in a series of 11 blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the April 2022 edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook, John Baffes and Wee Chian write that fertilizer prices have risen nearly 30% since the start of 2022, following last year’s 80% surge. Urea prices are expected to remain at historically high levels for as long as natural gas and coal prices remain elevated.

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Australian potato farmers ‘doing it for nothing’ warn of mass exodus amid stagnant prices

Potato farmers are warning that growers will walk away from the industry as cost pressures make the staple crop unviable in Australia. “When farmers were getting 80 to 90 cents a kilo for potatoes, they were about $4 at the supermarket. Now, they’re getting 40 to 50 cents a kilo and they’re still about $4 at the supermarket,” says Tony Galati, a potato grower, washpacker and retailer.

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Dry conditions not hindering potato development in Britain, but common scab might be an issue

Potato planting in Britain has got off to a good start this season, with the dry conditions in some areas not expected to affect emergence. Velcourt Advisory Services agronomist Patrick Levinge says soils have been left very dry by the lack of rain, but at this stage, it should not be having a negative impact on crop development. Common scab is likely to be an issue on susceptible varieties.

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The looming threat for Maine’s iconic potato industry

So far, climate change has brought mixed news for farmers in Maine. It is linked to warmer temperatures and drought, but also brings more frequent and intense rainfall that can damage crops with rot or soil erosion. Extra warmth has helped add an extra week to the end of the typically short Maine potato growing season. But it comes with a suite of challenges.

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Fry crisis in Asia: KFC Singapore stops selling french fries; McDonald’s Philippines serving just regular fries

KFC Singapore said on Thursday (28 April) that it is not offering French fries for now but assured customers that the item “will be back soon” amid a global potato shortage. McDonald’s Philippines has paused sales of larger portions of their fries due to “the global freight crisis,” saying they are “working hard to bring back all sizes very soon.”

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