Latest news stories from around the World

Mintec: UK potatoes at all-time highs for the second year in a row

The Mintec Benchmark for English white potatoes reached an all-time high of £750/MT on June 11th, an increase of 87.5% year-on-year. Market analyst Harry Campbell notes tight supplies will persist until the mid-July maincrop harvest. Delayed planting and lack of warm weather have kept prices elevated, marking the second year of record highs. Growers prefer higher free-buy prices over contracts due to climate impacts.

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Aussie potato growers first in world to access new fungicide to fight soil borne disease black scurf

Australian potato farmers are first globally to access Excalia, a new fungicide developed by Sumitomo Chemical Australia to combat Rhizoctonia solani. Launched in Melbourne, Excalia will be showcased at the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide. Sumitomo’s marketing manager Jock Leys highlighted its success in trials, improving yield and return on investment. The collaboration with Elders aims to ensure smooth distribution. Sumitomo will also introduce biostimulant products at the event.

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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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Podcast: ‘From Peru to Kenya – The Potato’s Journey of Resilience’

The first episode of ‘Crop Chronicles,’ a podcast by Crop Trust, explores the global significance and history of potatoes. Traveling from the Peruvian Andes to Kenyan farmlands, the podcast discusses the resilience of potatoes, innovative farming techniques, and scientific efforts to preserve potato diversity amid climate challenges. You can listen to the 20 minute long podcast on Spotify.

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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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StoreGuard now available in the UK: Potato growers anticipate benefits from new technology in maintaining fry colour

Biofresh Safestore, the exclusive UK distributor for StoreGuard, prepares for its first full season after securing UK marketing rights in November 2023. StoreGuard, made by AgroFresh, uses 1-MCP to maintain potato fry colour when stored with ethylene as a sprout inhibitor. The product has shown benefits in European and UK trials, reducing weight loss and fan times, and leaving no detectable residue.

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Sizzling success: The untold story of British women entrepreneurs in fish and chip shops

An exhibition at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum in King’s Lynn explores how fish and chip shops enabled British women to run their own businesses in the late 19th century. Highlighting shops that catered to domestic schedules, the “Fish and Chips Heroes” exhibition showcases the significant societal role these shops played, particularly in towns like King’s Lynn, known for its bustling port and dense population.

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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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Report: Global processed potato market expected to reach $45 billion growth milestone by 2028

The global processed potatoes market is expected to grow by USD 45 billion between 2024 and 2028, driven by enhanced production capabilities and technological advancements according to Technavio. Key growth factors include investments in advanced technology and infrastructure, especially in North America and Europe. Challenges such as fluctuating raw material prices and regulatory standards persist, but sustainable practices are being adopted. Major players include Lamb Weston, McCain Foods, and The Kraft Heinz Company.

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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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Europatat Activity Report 2023-2024 highlights unprecedented challenges and key achievements in the potato sector

The Europatat Annual Report 2023 highlights significant activities, achievements, and challenges of the European potato trade sector. Facing market turbulence due to legal changes, conflicts, and environmental factors, Europatat demonstrated resilience and adaptability. The report emphasizes strategic collaborations, policy advocacy, and efforts to promote fresh potatoes. Sustainability initiatives and research on potato stress resilience also feature prominently. The 2024 Congress in Brussels will address future sector challenges.

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Global heatwave: Earth experiences unprecedented year of record-breaking temperatures

Over the past year, the planet experienced record-breaking temperatures every month, with the global average soaring to 1.63 C above pre-industrial levels. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, urged immediate action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Scientists are alarmed at the rapid warming. The call to action stresses the urgency for world leaders and corporations to address the crisis.

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Market report: European potato prices rise on prospects of another delayed harvest

The Mintec Benchmark Price for Dutch processing potatoes rose by 26.7% in May to €475/MT, driven by the likelihood of delayed harvests due to wet planting conditions. Planting progress varies across Europe, with Germany nearly complete and Belgium lagging due to weather delays. France has planted over 80% of its area, and the Netherlands is nearly finished. Delays threaten seed potato quality, especially early varieties.

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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 market update: Firm retail demand amid planting delays across Ireland and Europe

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports strong retail demand for potatoes in Ireland despite one of the latest planting years, caused by erratic weather. The mixed weather has increased consumer demand, keeping the market robust. Planting delays in Ireland and Europe have pushed prices higher due to tight supply. Early-planted varieties are expected soon, offering some relief. IFA is monitoring the situation closely.

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Europatat Congress 2024 unites industry leaders to shape the future of potato trade

The Europatat Congress 2024 took place in Brussels on 23 and 24 May, gathering over 100 participants from various countries. The event featured internal meetings for Europatat members, discussions with legislators, and a public conference on the future of potato trade. Key topics included plant health, food safety, and sustainability. Notable presentations were given by external speakers and project researchers.

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Pioneering the future of potato storage: North America Potato Storage Organization gears up for first virtual meeting

The North America Potato Storage Summit (NAPSS) will hold its inaugural virtual meeting on June 17, 2024, focusing on revolutionizing potato storage practices. The agenda includes introductions, anti-trust guidelines, team ground rules, and the formation of sub-committees. Future plans involve an in-person meeting during the 2024 Potato Association of America event. NAPSS aims to enhance potato storage solutions, profitability, and sustainability in North America through collaboration and innovation.

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FPS Food Process Solutions’ global headcount now over 1,000 strong

FPS Food Process Solutions, a global leader in turn-key food processing solutions, has expanded to over 1,000 employees in 20 locations across six continents since its inception in 2010 with eight staff. The company’s growth encompasses strategic acquisitions and partnerships, enhancing its manufacturing, R&D, engineering, service, and sales. FPS continues to innovate and expand, aiming for continued growth in the food processing sector.

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EU potato sector confronts late blight threat: Copa-Cogeca unveils comprehensive action plan

Europe’s leading farming organizations, Copa and Cogeca, are raising concerns about the re-emergence of potato late blight, a serious threat to European potato production. They have proposed an action plan, supported by several other EU farming organizations, to address this issue, emphasizing the need for effective plant protection products, resistant varieties, and improved agricultural practices. The plan includes developing coordinated measures with various stakeholders and increasing awareness among EU institutions to ensure effective control strategies.

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James Hutton Institute opens pioneering crop storage research facility in Scotland

A new Crop Storage and Post-harvest Solutions (CSPS) facility has opened at the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, Scotland, funded by the Scottish and UK Governments. The facility focuses on studying the effects of temperature, gas composition, and humidity on stored crops. Led by Professor Derek Stewart, the research aims to prolong shelf life and address the challenges posed by climate change and regenerative agriculture.

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Michigan State University’s new potato variety: Genetically engineered for longer storage, less browning and less fertilizer use

Michigan State University developed a genetically engineered potato, the Kal91.3, exempt from USDA APHIS biotechnology regulations. Created by Dave Douches using RNA interference, it stabilizes sugars in cold storage, reducing off-color browning and caramelization. The Kal91.3 can be stored at 40°F and requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides, offering environmental benefits. It potentially stabilizes Michigan’s potato industry by providing a steady supply for chips and addresses climate resilience.

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EU farmers’ protest erupts: Hundreds of tractors converge on Brussels in anti-Green Deal protest

Farmers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and Germany drove hundreds of tractors into Brussels to protest the EU’s environmental policies. Mainstream farming groups did not endorse the protest, which was organized by the Dutch Farmers Defence Force and supported by right-wing groups. The farmers argue the policies undermine their competitiveness and call for a change to the Green Deal.

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Robust surge in U.S. potato sales: Across-the-board growth for all potato categories

In the first quarter of 2024, the U.S. retail potato market saw a 5.6% rise in sales volumes and a 4.4% increase in dollar sales, reaching $4.6 billion. Growth spanned all potato categories, led by fresh potatoes with a 7.6% volume increase. Smaller pack sizes gained popularity, while larger ones declined. Insights from Circana reveal strong consumer demand, guiding industry strategies for future growth.

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Scottish potato planting season hampered by weather challenges and seed shortages

In Scotland, inconsistent weather has made this year’s potato planting season challenging, with sporadic efforts due to frequent rain and soaked soil. Around 75% of potatoes are planted in Moray and Aberdeenshire, 90% in Angus and Perthshire, and the Borders region is nearly complete. Limited seed supplies and disease concerns complicate the season further, while low sunlight and disease risks affect growth and yields.

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