Around 40 tractors disrupted Dover port traffic, protesting low supermarket prices and cheap imports due to post-Brexit deals. Farmers in Kent, inspired by similar actions in France, are planning more blockades, potentially targeting docks and distribution centers. This comes after a demonstration with tractors bearing slogans against cheap imports. With national support, further actions are being discussed to address their grievances over unfair competition and regulations.
Latest news stories from around the World
John Mesko of the Potato Sustainability Alliance details efforts to boost potato farming sustainability in 2024 through smart technology and conservation. Emphasizing collaboration and efficient resource use, the focus includes wisely managing water and nutrients, selecting resilient potato varieties, and innovating in storage to cut emissions. Mesko advocates for holistic evaluation of farming practices, including crop rotations, to improve soil and water conservation, driving sustainable industry advances.
Ecuador is experiencing an agricultural rebirth in the highlands, focusing on native potatoes. With 250,000 tons produced in 2021, small farmers are key. Partnerships between INIAP, CIP, INALPROCES, and AGROPAPA have innovated the market with colored potato chips under the Kiwa brand, leading to 80% export-driven sales increases and economic stability for farmers. This initiative supports local biodiversity and spotlights the need for continued public-private collaboration for industry growth.
TOMRA Food announced an agile new structure and three AI-powered sorting and grading solutions at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. With an increased focus on customer proximity and innovation, the reorganized company combines its processed and fresh food sectors into unified regional teams (EMEA, Americas, APAC), supported by a central hub for R&D and operations. The new AI technologies promise unparalleled accuracy in grading, aiming to boost productivity and minimize waste.
Alarcón & Harris (A&H) won the Best B2B Content & Project Management Services Provider award at the Media Innovator Awards 2023. Their CEO, Nuria Martí, attributes the agency’s distinction to a unique ‘Glocalization’ strategy—merging global PR activities with local insights. The agency’s expertise in technical information, international media knowledge, and multilingual content production has significantly enhanced their clients’ global presence. Among their prominent clients is TOMRA Food, demonstrating the agency’s broad sector influence.
A study by Potatoes USA shows that 22% of Americans eat potatoes multiple times weekly, revealing their cultural significance despite health perceptions ranking them low among vegetables. Spanning various ethnic groups, potatoes are considered a foundational food, with 53% of adults deeming them culturally important. Moreover, Americans appreciate potatoes for their taste, cost, and nutrition, with 72% recognizing their good value.
The EU faces a challenging 2024 for potato cultivation with a seed shortage due to a 10,000-hectare decrease in seed-producing areas. Belpotato.be reports average yields and larger seeds with fewer tubers, compounded by viral issues and poor harvests due to rains. Seed prices are rising sharply, affecting all potato sectors. Producers may need to look for seeds outside traditional channels, while industry-wide efforts are needed to stabilize seed cultivation for sustainability.
Two years into the U.S. potato industry’s access to the Mexican market, National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles, consultant Matt Lantz of Bryant Christie Inc., and Kim Breshears of Potatoes USA convened at Potato Expo in Austin to analyze the endeavor and future expansion plans, writes John Groh in an article published by The Produce News. That despite previous market disputes, the U.S. persisted, leading to increased market access past the initial 26-kilometer border zone.
Irish and European potato markets: Resilience in the face of rising costs, tight supplies and seed scarcity
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that the Irish potato market remains strong despite rising costs and seed scarcity, with sustained demand in home consumption, retail, and food service sectors. Irish potato farmers are grappling with the dual pressures of rising costs and limited availability of seed potatoes. This situation is is a reflection of a broader European trend. Tight supplies across the continent have led to a significant increase in costs, putting additional financial strain on farmers.
Potato Association of America’s 2024 Annual Meeting: A blend of science, scenery, and sustainability
The Potato Association of America (PAA) announces its annual meeting from July 21-25, 2024, in Portland, Oregon. The event will focus on advancements in potato breeding and sustainable practices, offering discussions on pest and nutrient management, among many other topics. Participants will also enjoy the cultural and natural attractions of Portland. Further details on participation are available online.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has repealed the Sustainable Use Regulation, a law aimed at cutting EU pesticide use by half by 2030 and banning them in sensitive areas. The withdrawal represents the Green Deal’s first setback. In her speech, she acknowledged the challenges faced by farmers but emphasized the need for a more sustainable model of production amidst climate and economic crises.
Mixed fortunes in Dutch agriculture: Seed onion yields surge as potato and grain harvests decline in 2023
In 2023, the Netherlands saw a 9.2% increase in seed onion yield but decreases in other crops: ware potatoes by 5.6%, barley by 20.3%, and wheat by 7.4%, as per CBS. Ware potato yields per hectare dipped to 45.8 tonnes, a 2.8% drop, with a total gross yield decrease to 3.4 million tonnes due to unharvested crops from wet conditions, potentially worsened by frost.
Guelph to host exciting 2024 Ontario Potato Conference: A must-attend event for industry professionals
The 2024 Ontario Potato Conference, organized by Dr. Eugenia Banks and hosted by the Ontario Potato Board, is scheduled for February 29 in Guelph. Garnering significant interest with a sold-out Trade Show and additional exhibitors, the event features expert speakers addressing tailored topics crucial to the industry. The agenda includes sessions on late blight management, soil health, technology advancements, sustainable practices and more, offering insights and networking opportunities. Registration is open online.
Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is sharing its renowned potato-growing expertise to aid Ukraine’s economic recovery. Former MP Wayne Easter’s P.E.I.-based company initiated a large-scale potato planting and harvesting operation in Ukraine, adapting to local conditions by using Scottish seeds. This project supports Ukraine’s reduced imports from Belarus due to strained relations, aligning with the nation’s need for economic advancement as stressed by the Ukrainian Prime Minister.
The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) reports substantial losses for potato growers in 2023 due to poor weather and high costs, with 11,000 hectares and 650,000 tonnes affected. Despite this, global harvest rose by 5.1%, with varying regional impacts. Growers struggle with production costs, risks, and certified seed shortages, while processing demand remains high. This leaves the sector under stress, seeking a balance between supply and challenging conditions.
At the Canadian Potato Summit, UPGC’s Victoria Stamper presented an insightful analysis of the potato industry for 2023-24, highlighting a record high potato stock and shifting production trends, with a 7.2% storage increase. Canada’s potato production reached a new peak with over $1.5 billion in sales value. She discussed challenges like surplus storage, quality management, cost pressures, and shifts in consumer preferences. Opportunities for Canadian exporters in the global market, especially in Europe, were emphasized.
Europe’s farmers are protesting against what they consider are unfair and contradictory policies, disrupting daily life with demonstrations across France, Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria due to the climate crisis and policy responses. Protests escalated after a tragic accident in France and are poised to continue with potential nationwide action, expressing long-term frustration over environmental policy applications and subsidy removals.
The Europatat Congress returns to Brussels on May 23-24, 2024, focusing on “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition.” Industry leaders will discuss environmental, economic, and social challenges, and innovations within the sector. The agenda includes reviews, a General Assembly, and a public conference amid European elections, offering networking opportunities enriched by social events. Potato professionals will soon be able to register at the congress website.
Ukraine’s potato industry is experiencing a severe price surge, with costs up to four times compared to last year’s. A shortage of quality potatoes due to lower yields is driving this spike as the season ends. Consequently, imports, especially from Poland, are increasing to meet demand, affecting Polish market prices as well. This creates critical challenges and opportunities within the industry, emphasizing the importance of strategic planning and global collaboration.
Resilient Irish potato market navigates harsh weather, shortfall reported in European potato supplies
The Irish Farmers Association reports a rise in potato sales due to their economic value in the cost-of-living crisis. Despite tough harvesting, consumption has increased, with the UK and Northern Europe facing supply challenges. Potential losses in Europe could lead to 800,000 tonnes of potatoes being lost, prompting interest in imports to cover deficits in spring. This situation offers both obstacles and prospects for the potato industry.
The National Potato Council’s Potato Expo 2024 in Austin set a new record with 2,320 attendees from 18 countries. Celebrating its 16th year with extensive educational sessions and events like ‘Top Spud’ taco competition, the expo focused on technological innovation and public policy advocacy. It raised $108,000 for Potato LEAF and highlighted impending U.S.-Japan trade negotiations. The next expo is slated for January 2025 in Las Vegas.
PepsiCo Egypt celebrated the fourth harvest of its “She Feeds the World” program, supporting 10,000 female farmers. Launched in 2020, the initiative empowers rural women in agriculture, aligning with pep+ and Egypt 2030 Vision, aiming for self-sufficiency and enhanced living conditions. The program has touched 390,000 lives and promotes economic empowerment and community development. The stories of these resilient women serve as a beacon of inspiration and a call to action for continued progress in the agricultural sector.
Syngenta Canada’s Zero Hunger Challenge has surpassed its meal donation target by 20%, contributing over 225,000 meals to combat rural hunger and food insecurity, which has risen 78% since 2019. With $1 million already donated to Food Banks Canada, the initiative is committed to increasing 2024’s target to 250,000 meals. Syngenta engages in food drives and promotes agricultural innovation to support this cause.
Prince Edward Island’s potato industry is on the brink of a major resurgence, overcoming past challenges with potato wart. As reported by the Island Farmer, extensive testing and new initiatives by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are revitalizing the sector. The development of a new national potato wart response plan promises to position PEI once again as a leading source of trusted potatoes in North America.