Latest news stories from around the World

‘Trailblazers in the Field’: The female forces shaping New Zealand’s potato industry

On International Women’s Day, Potatoes New Zealand highlighted the pivotal roles of women in the potato sector. Paula Lleras, Emma Lees, and Kate Trufitt were featured for their unique expertise and impacts on the industry, from database management and inspection to HR and leadership roles. These stories showcase the crucial contributions and inspirational effect women have in agriculture, promoting diversity and innovation.

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Haith publishes its 2024 brochure, showcasing a blend of tradition and innovation in agricultural solutions

Haith has launched its 2024 brochure, celebrating 75 years of progress in agricultural technology with an emphasis on potatoes and vegetables. This comprehensive guide not only displays their product range but also underlines their commitment to innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction. More than a product list, the brochure signifies Haith’s dedication to the farming sector, promising reliable and advanced solutions to meet modern agricultural demands.

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‘Scent of a fry’: McDonald’s Japan launches limited-edition french fry perfumes

McDonald’s Japan has unveiled a limited-edition perfume collection inspired by their iconic fries, with aromas like plum nori seaweed salt, and garlic black pepper mayo. The inventive packaging resembles McDonald’s distinctive fry boxes. Announced on their social media, this release adds to their history of unique collaborations, extending their food legacy into fragrance.

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Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips celebrates 25 million pounds of ‘rescued’ potatoes

Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips Inc.’s Uglies Kettle Chips brand has transformed 25 million pounds of “ugly potatoes” into snacks, tackling the issue of produce rejected on aesthetics. Since starting in 2017, Uglies Kettle Chips has been positively impacting farmers and the community, promoting sustainability by repurposing otherwise discarded potatoes, as celebrated by the company’s VP, Dwight Zimmerman.

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Lightning-based fertiliser technology could support farmers, climate and soil health

UK Agri-Tech Centres partner with Debye Ltd. to trial a system that mimics lightning for on-site nitrate fertilizer production, reducing carbon emissions and improving soil health. The technology, created by a former space engineer, uses only air, water, and electricity, aiming to lessen the environmental impact of traditional fertilizers and enhance food security.

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Pulsemaster unveils game-changing PEF technology at Anuga FoodTec 2024: A new era in food processing

Pulsemaster will exhibit its PEF technology at Anuga FoodTec 2024 in Cologne, spotlighting transformative food processing methods. Their system enhances quality, extends shelf life, and optimizes nutrient preservation, offering sustainable, cost-effective solutions. Applications range from improving vegetable oils to potato products, with a focus on energy efficiency and healthier end products. Visitors to stand G020 in Hall 10.1 can experience this innovation’s practical benefits firsthand.

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Celebrating the humble spud: World Potato Congress and FAO to launch the first International Day of the Potato

The World Potato Congress, with FAO’s support, inaugurated International Day of the Potato on May 30th to celebrate this crucial food source. Recognizing the potato’s role in feeding billions, the UN declared the day officially. The 2024 event theme “Harvesting Diversity – Feeding Hope” emphasizes its importance in fighting hunger and urges global engagement through education and a social media hashtag campaign.

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HZPC’s mission in the Andes: Protecting potato diversity and supporting farmers

In Peru’s Andes, efforts by HZPC and the CIP are preserving potato genetic diversity with direct farmer support through the AGUAPAN initiative. Around 100 farming families who conserve up to 300 ancient potato varieties benefit from financial contributions, tackling poverty and enhancing well-being. Researchers strive to document these landraces, including a ‘potato field guide’ for the over 3,000 unique varieties.

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From water to nutrients: Transforming potato production with fertigation

Sheldon Wiebe, a pioneering potato producer in Canada’s Manitoba province, has adapted fertigation on his farm, combining fertilizer distribution with irrigation, enhancing crop production since the 1960s. This method reduces fertilizer leaching, with benefits discussed by Wiebe and fellow farmers at the Potato Production Days event. Fertigation allows delayed nitrogen application, optimizing plant health.

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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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Record-breaking heat: February 2024 declared hottest on record

February 2024 set a chilling record as the warmest February in history. Continuing a nine-month streak, temperatures were 1.77°C above the pre-industrial average and 0.81°C higher than recent decades’ norm. Record ocean warmth exacerbates the crisis, with the potential for more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and disrupted ecosystems. Scientists stress the severe, costly consequences of denying and delaying action on human-driven climate change.

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Scarcity of premium potatoes in Ukraine leads to significant price hike

Ukraine’s potato market is experiencing a shortage of high-quality produce, leading to increased prices, with the current rate at 16-23 UAH/kg, a 14% rise from last week. EastFruit notes that as the supply diminishes and demand grows, even lower quality potatoes are fetching higher prices. Costs are now 2.8 times higher than in early March, with predictions of further hikes as scarcity continues.

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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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McCain to sell Dutch chilled potato business CelaVita

McCain is selling its fresh potato subsidiary CelaVita to Nimbus, a Dutch investment group. The financial specifics are undisclosed, as JustFood’s Fiona Holland details. The deal is set to conclude mid-year. Nimbus stated that McCain’s shift from chilled potatoes encouraged the sale, believing CelaVita will thrive independently.

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Europatat 2024 Congress: Shaping the future of the European potato trade

Europatat has opened registration for its annual Congress in Brussels on May 23-24, 2024, focusing on the “European Potato Trade in 2030.” Discussions will tackle the sector’s future challenges and the potential of new innovations. Keynote speaker Rik Vera will address business model evolution amid a transforming industry. The event features a panel discussion, journalistic moderation, and social networking functions, including a gala and farewell drinks.

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Celebrating women in the potato industry: The inspirational stories of New Zealand’s Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay

On International Women’s Day on March 8, we honor Michelle Pye and Tracey McKay for their leadership in New Zealand’s potato industry. Pye excels in multifaceted roles, including directorships and council positions, prioritizing inclusivity and diversity. McKay, co-owner of Alps Seeds Ltd, innovates in seed potato production. Both faced challenges but persevere, inspiring women to engage in agriculture’s diverse opportunities. Their stories embody the empowerment of women and their critical influence in shaping the future of the global potato industry.

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Canada: New Brunswickers plan fundraisers, buy chips in bulk to support local potato chip brand after fire

Three days after the Covered Bridge Potato Chips factory fire in Hartland, N.B., the community and wider region have shown strong support. The blaze destroyed a key local employer of over 100 people, with investigations ongoing. The town’s deputy mayor highlighted community efforts to aid recovery, expressing relief that no employees were harmed. Social media is alight with supportive messages and the company’s logo.

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2024 Ontario Potato Conference a resounding success: Innovations and strategies against late blight unveiled

The 2024 Ontario Potato Conference & Trade Show, organized by Dr. Eugenia Banks, successfully concluded in Guelph with high attendance. It focused on combating potato late blight, featuring the Late Blight Symposium with vital insights from experts like Gary Secor. They emphasized readiness and recommended fungicides, especially Orondis. The conference also highlighted the US23 late blight strain’s threat to tomatoes and explored new solutions like the “Air Spore” system.

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‘The margin game’: When lots of little things add up to make a big difference

Emerald Research Ltd advocates for holistic nutritional programmes to help farmers manage unpredictable conditions, by using micronutrients, microbials, and biostimulants that can increase potato yields by 10-25%. Their extensive research emphasizes tailored strategies for different growth stages, sustainable resource use, nutrient optimization, and precise application methods that can significantly reduce environmental impact while boosting crop resilience and marketable yield.

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Combating blight resistance in potatoes: Effective mixing of fungicides as a key solution

Andy Cunningham from Syngenta UK asserts that effective fungicide mixing, particularly with mandipropamid, is crucial for managing blight resistance in potatoes. He cites Denmark’s success in reducing EU 43 blight strain cases by incorporating Revus into their fungicide programs. Cunningham advises UK growers to use Revus with alternative-action fungicides to maintain efficacy and prevent resistance, naming potential mix partners for the 2024 season. The robust resistance breaking strategy of fungicide mixing had been proven in the Eurofins trial.

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Canada: Flames destroy beloved Covered Bridge Potato Chip factory in New Brunswick

A devastating fire destroyed the Covered Bridge Potato Chip factory in Hartland, New Brunswick, impacting around 100 workers and nearby businesses. Firefighters fought the blaze into the night. The factory, owned by the Albright family and a key tourist spot, vows to rebuild. The cause is being investigated, with witness reports of explosions. The loss has been felt deeply by the community and fans of the award-winning chips.

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New compostable, biodegradable packaging material derived from potato starch

Bio Plast Pom, in collaboration with Gdańsk University of Technology, has developed NOPLA, a compostable and biodegradable material made from potato starch aimed at minimizing environmental harm, CO2 emissions, and energy consumption. This non-synthetic, plastic-free material degrades within 3-6 months, aligns with EU eco-standards, and nourishes marine life rather than causing damage. Bio Plast Pom launched its proprietary production line for NOPLA biogranulate in May 2023.

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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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Major online auction event: Surplus potato processing, bagging, and handling equipment

Baker City Organics is auctioning surplus potato processing, bagging, and handling equipment through Grafe Auction online, attracting national buyers from the industry. Significant machinery, like Kerian Speed Sizers and Marq Case Sealers, is available at competitive rates. Inspections are open March 12-13 in North Powder, OR. This event offers growers and processors a chance to enhance operations economically. Further details and assistance are available via Grafe Auction’s contact points.

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European researchers unite to combat potato pest threat at inaugural wireworm workshop

To tackle the growing wireworm threat to potatoes, scientists will convene in Oslo during the 22nd Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research for the European Wireworm Research Network’s inaugural workshop. They aim to develop collaborative strategies for pest management, with a focus on new research, monitoring methods, and sustainable practices to protect potato crops, enhancing food security in Europe and globally.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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