Latest potato news from around the World

Study: Future impact of climate change in Belgium and how it will effect the potato industry

The study “Evaluation of the socio-economic impact of climate change in Belgium” commissioned by the National Climate Commission has just been published. According to the authors of the report, global climate change in Belgium will mainly be felt through heat waves, floods and droughts. Warmer and drier summers, and milder and wetter winters are becoming the ‘new normal’. The increasing impact of drought on potato cultivation is a main concern for the potato fry industry, according to the authors of the report.

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Balancing spuds and sustainability: McCain Foods Ballarat aims high with water use reduction targets smashed

In Australia, McCain Foods Ballarat has achieved an improvement of 20% in its water use efficiency over the past 12 months – smashing the plant’s 2% target set in the recently released Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability report. The company says its focus on Growing Green and Golden stems from the company’s vision towards a low- carbon economy in Australia and New Zealand by concentrating on emissions, waste, investment in renewable electricity and more sustainable use of packaging and water.

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Discovered: A wild potato with high resistance to late blight

In a recent collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the James Hutton institute, scientists identified a diploid wild potato with a high resistance to P. infestans, according to a press release issued by the American Phytopathological Society. “We found that the observed resistance in this wild potato was due to previously uncharacterized novel resistance genes,” explained Guangcun Li, one of the scientists involved in the study. “We also discovered that photosynthesis was inhibited to promote the immune response.”

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International trade remains slow in Britain at the start of the 2020/21 season

The latest HMRC trade data shows that exports of fresh potatoes (both ware and seed) were down significantly in July 2020 compared to the start of last season (Jul-19). According to an AHDB news report, imports of fresh potatoes (excluding seed) were also down in July 2020. For processed potato products the story was slightly different, writes Alice Bailey, Senior Analyst Potatoes. An increased volume of processed potato products have moved out of the UK, but less imported compared to July 2019.

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Canadian crop update: Outlook mixed; total production expected to be down on last year

As the first day of fall arrives, the potato crop in the country is in varying stages of growth and/or harvest, writes Kevin MacIsaac in the latest Canadian crop update issued by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). The general manager of UPGC says the production outlook is mixed after parts of Eastern Canada experienced one of their driest seasons on record, while growers in Western Canada work feverishly to harvest their crop from the ground after Mother Nature’s early onset of winter prevented them from doing so last year.

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It was said: Quotes worth remembering

Dear readers, please find here a few quotations that we selected from news items published on Potato News Today the past couple of weeks. “It was fantastic. Until the virus hit, I was telling people I’ve been farming for 48 years waiting for a year like this, because it was kind of like a perfect storm, you know? It looked like it was going to be a good marketing year…” Idaho potato grower Randy Hardy on the outlook for the Idaho potato crop before the pandemic hit.

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BFA: SoilEssentials’ Jim Wilson and Robert Ramsay shortlisted for Agri-tech Innovator of the Year Award

Angus growers Jim Wilson and Robert Ramsay are improving potato production and reducing waste with their Tuberzone CropCast forecasting tool – and it’s now running worldwide. The pair run SoilEssentials, a precision technology company that taps into their farming experience to tackle industry challenges. It was announced recently that Jim and Robert are shortlisted for the prestigious Agri-tech Innovator of the Year Award by the the British Farming Awards (BFA).

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Zimbawean government embarks on potato seed production to curb imports

According to a report published by The Herald, the government in Zimbabwe, in cooperation with Kutsaga Research Station in the country has embarked on a potato seed multiplication programme – from mini-tuber to commercial seed potato. This programme was launched in response to a critical shortage of seed potatoes which resulted in the country importing 60 percent of its total requirement, mostly from South Africa.

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Branston raises money for children’s hospice

British potato supplier Branston is now halfway through a challenge to virtually travel around the world in 80 days to raise money for its charity of the year – Children’s Hospice South West. County Gazette reporter Jess Chaffey writes that more than 100 employees are taking part across Branston’s three sites to travel 24,901 miles, by walking, running and cycling. James Truscott, managing director at Branston, said: “We’re really proud of all the team for getting involved and helping us to achieve our goal for our chosen charity.

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Project to research the viability of True Potato Seed in Canada’s far North

A pilot project that could improve food security in Canada’s North got the green light Monday, according to a report by CBC News. Jackie Milne, president of the Northern Farm Training Institute in Hay River, received $50,000 in funding from the government of the Northwest Territories to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists to identify the best potato seeds to produce potatoes in the North.

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COVID-19 response: McCain Foods USA partners with No Kid Hungry to help eliminate childhood hunger

Earlier this week, McCain Foods USA announced its partnership with No Kid Hungry to help ensure children across America have access to healthy meals amid coronavirus-related school closures and beyond. McCain Foods USA says in a press release the partnership was launched by donating $75,000 which will be directed to No Kid Hungry’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts that will help provide children with the most important school supply they can have: food.

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Podcast: NPC’s CEO reacts to USDA’s COVID-19 relief announcement

On Friday, Sept. 18, the National Potato Council welcomed the announcement that USDA will implement an expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program — CFAP 2 — which will provide an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs due to the government-imposed food service disruptions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NPC CEO Kam Quarles calls in from DC to react to the breaking news and to thank USDA for taking this additional step toward relief for the members of the potato industry who have experienced significant economic hardships in 2020.

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Cavendish Farms opens new $12.5 million Research Centre on Canada’s Prince Edward Island

Cavendish Farms’ new Research Centre in New Annan, Prince Edward Island officially opened today with a ribbon cutting with Hon. Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island, and company officials. The $12.5 million facility, which is fully funded by Cavendish Farms, is an investment in the sustainability of PEI’s all-important potato industry. “This is another step to help support potato growers and the potato industry on the Island,” said Robert K. Irving, President of Cavendish Farms. “Our goal is to help address the specific challenges faced by growers here on Prince Edward Island.”

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Tong announces record sales of next generation barrel washer

Tong Engineering has announced record sales of the company’s next generation stainless steel Barrel Washer throughout 2020. Sales of the company’s advanced Barrel Washers have been boosted in the UK and export markets by an increase in orders for the new, advanced design which was launched early last year, according to Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering. Built with efficiency, reliability, and ease of maintenance in mind, Tong’s proven barrel washer design has been enhanced with several advanced features as standard including a new direct-drive, inverter-controlled barrel drive shaft with heavy duty coupling.

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Marketing success: ‘Bud the Spud’ content seen over 5M times by British consumers

Between May and July this year AHDB’s marketing team ran a successful campaign which aimed to keep potatoes relevant to consumers while educating them about their versatility, ease of use and health benefits, the organization says in a recent news article. In response to the market dynamics created by COVID-19, AHDB says there was a need to create additional demand in retail and drive volume in sales to attempt to make up for some of the losses through foodservice. Bud the Spud’ was part of a marketing campaign (More Than a Bit on the Side) with proven positive results.

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Pandemic relief: NPC welcomes USDA’s expanded Coronavirus Financial Assistance Program

On Friday, the National Potato Council welcomed an announcement by President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue on Sept. 17 that USDA will implement an expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) will provide an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs due to the government-imposed food service disruptions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Signup for CFAP 2 will begin Sept. 21 and run through Dec. 11, 2020.

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PepsiCo pushes to empower women in agriculture with $20m USAID partnership

The Lay’s and Doritos maker has signed a $20m partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to create a gender-inclusive supply chain and help build a more sustainable food system. The five-year partnership falls under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) established by the US White House last year, which seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 by scaling private-public partnerships. PepsiCo and USAID will each invest an initial $5m to jumpstart the programme to support women-owned small- and medium-enterprises.

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The Roundup debacle: Bayer settles thousands more law suits

Bayer AG settled thousands more U.S. lawsuits over its Roundup weed killer after criticism that the company was failing to uphold an $11 billion deal it announced in June to resolve the massive litigation, writes Joel Rosenblatt in an article published by Bloomberg. The latest settlements resolve about 15,000 U.S. lawsuits, according to lawyers familiar with the deals. Added to the approximately 32,000 settlements previously disclosed by Ken Feinberg, the mediator overseeing the process, Bayer has resolved at least 47,000 of the suits.

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COVID-19 impact: Idaho’s 2020 potato crop prognosis

The outlook for the Idaho potato season was very promising at the beginning of the year. Then, in the middle of March, with the impact of the Corona virus becoming aparant here in the US and globally, everything changed. “It was fantastic,” says Idaho potato grower Randy Hardy. “Until the virus hit, I was telling people I’ve been farming for 48 years waiting for a year like this, because it was kind of like a perfect storm, you know? It looked like it was going to be a good marketing year…” But then the pandemic put an end to all of this. Bill Schaefer in Idaho produced a video in which the owners and managers of four prominent Idaho potato operations discuss the economic impact of Covid-19.

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PepsiCo starts construction of a new savory snack processing plant in Russia

PepsiCo Russia has laid the foundation stone for a new processing plant for the production of savory snacks in the Industrial and Logistics Park of the Novosibirsk Region, according to a recent press release issued by PepsiCo Russia. The plant in Novosibirsk will become PepsiCo’s third plant to produce salty snacks in Russia. In total, there are more than 20 PepsiCo subsidiaries in Russia. The company has over time invested over US$10 billion in Russia. PepsiCo will also launch an agricultural program in the region aimed at providing the new plant with local potatoes.

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Romain Cools, Belgapom: ‘This could well become the toughest NW European potato season in 50 years’

Last week, the North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) association announced their harvest estimate for the 2020/2021 season. They reckon potato yields will be between 27 and 27,3 million tons. That’s for the five most important potato-growing countries in North-western Europe. “These results correspond with the information we got from various parties,” Romain Cools of Belgapom, in Belgium told Sharon de Ridder of AGF Netherlands . “According to some, this could become a disastrous year. But, the yields are actually surprisingly higher than many estimated.”

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Ukraine plans to ban potato imports from Russia

According to information published by the UNIAN Information Agency, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, Taras Vysotskyi, says the ministry plans to ban imports of potatoes from Russia as a tool to support Ukrainian potato growers. According to UNIAN, Ukraine in 2019 increased potato imports, mainly from Russia, by 43 times, to a record high 250,000 tonnes.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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