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Keep up to date with the latest HZPC news and global potato news.




Potato News

AHDB provides online Coronavirus advice for British farmers and growers

In a message from Jane King, CEO of AHDB, she says: “To our farmers, growers and supply-chain businesses. We are all living in the most extraordinary of times. To bring all the latest advice together in one place, AHDB has created specific coronavirus-related pages on its website where you can access the latest Government advice for employers and employees, links to other industry organisations, frequently asked questions and a wealth of tools and business information.
4/19/2020

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Blight fungicides that tick all the boxes for British potato growers

Controlling late blight (Phytophthora infestans) in potatoes has become much more complicated. Growers and agronomists have to think about many factors, including disease pressure, blight strains, growth stage of the crop, weather conditions, fungicide mode of action, movement of the fungicide within the plant, resistance management, and many more.
4/17/2020

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Canadian seed potato growers face COVID-19 hit

In the 2018-19 crop year, Canada exported about $38 million worth of seed potatoes. Almost all of the seed potatoes went to the United States, with a tiny share going to Uruguay and other nations. Those exports are now in jeopardy because COVID-19 has drastically cut into consumption of french fries. Potato seed growers in Canada will sell a portion of their crop this spring, but the rest could go to waste.
4/17/2020

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Idaho farm giving away 2 mil pounds of potatoes because coronavirus has hurt demand

With coronavirus severely affecting the potato supply chain, a farm in Idaho is giving awayabout 2 million pounds of potatoes so they don’t go to waste, Alisha Ebrahimji of CNN reports. Ryan Cranney, CEO of Cranney Farms in Oakley, Idaho, about 150 miles from Boise, told CNN the response has completely blown him away. “People are coming from all over the place.” Most of the people who have come for the potatoes are doing it for others.
4/17/2020

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Canadian potato industry holds conference to receive market update

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought physical meetings to a standstill, the board of directors of United Potato Growers of Canada held a face-to-face meeting in Ottawa to review potato stocks and discuss the market situation across the country.
4/15/2020

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Scottish potato industry eyes up potato market

Scottish potato production continues to thrive in the current crisis, but with a collapse in the food service sector, fresh market suppliers could face increased competition from the processing market who are looking for a space on the shelves. The Scottish Farmer caught up with Fraser Malcolm of the Scottish Potato Cooperative to hear how the potato market has been impacted by covid-19.
4/15/2020

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US potatoes and the CARES Act

Bob Larson of AgInfo reports that the USDA and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue have some tough decisions to make in the coming days. They have to decide how to allocate the $9.5-billion dollars earmarked for agriculture in the CARES Act relief package. US potatoes and the CARES ActNational Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles says while that’s a significant amount, it won’t be nearly enough
4/15/2020

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Belgian potato sector grows again in 2019, however corona crisis will lay into the 2020 figures

Last year, despite the difficult growing conditions as a result of the extreme heat and drought during both the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 seasons, the Belgian potato-processing industry once again improved the record for processed potatoes. Almost 5.3 million tonnes of potatoes processed into fries, mashed potato products, crisps, flakes and granules or precooked potatoes meant an increase of 3.8% compared to the figures for 2018.
4/11/2020

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Idaho potato contract terms slightly higher, but mixed amid COVID fallout

French fry processors will pay Idaho potato growers a slightly higher price this year, but will order fewer because of lower demand from restaurants and foodservice outlets closed by the COVID-19 shutdowns, Capital Press reports. The annual contract between growers and processors calls for a 2% price increase from 2019, in response to growers’ higher labor and machinery costs, said Dan Hargraves, acting executive director of the Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.
4/11/2020

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New protocols for N applications in potatoes

A new protocol for estimating the determinacy – how crops utilise fertilisers – of potato varieties will be released in the next few months and will be added to the AHDB’s Nutrient Management Guide (RB209). This should help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties. From this, growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and thus fine-tune the N rates applied to crops.
4/11/2020

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Potatoes USA: 2019 a banner year for potatoes, but in 2020 exports decline with severe losses in foodservice sales

Utilization of U.S. grown potatoes increased by 3.3% in volume in 2019 compared to 2018, an increase of 1,183 million pounds. The full force of the global pandemic and its impact on food sales became very apparent in March, Potatoes USA says. Beginning with the restrictions in China and then elsewhere in Asia, U.S. exports slowed considerably. Domestically, the calls for social distancing and the restrictions on sporting events, entertainment, bars, and restaurants has led to a drastic decline in foodservice sales.
4/6/2020

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Covid-19: Prov govt of Prince Edward Island answers commonly asked farming related questions

The Agriculture and Land department of the provincial government on Prince Edward Island in Canada has published a page on its website this week dedicated to commonly asked questions that the farming community on the Island are concerned about. Answers are provided by the department on the page. Health officials on the Island recognize that essential services, including food production, will have to be maintained even under the current restrictions.
4/6/2020

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With no fries sold, Dutch farmers face billion kilo potato pile

It’s potato planting season, but many Dutch farmers are facing a mountain of a problem, with a million tons of potatoes left over from last season due to the coronavirus outbreak. Restaurants in the Netherlands, many serving popular deep fried “patat”, have been closed since mid-March, with a ban on public gatherings set to last until June 1 at least.. With their closure, the market for potatoes collapsed overnight.
4/6/2020

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A shift in market requirements for the British potato industry

In light of the coronavirus outbreak reaching the UK in January 2020 there has been significant development, ultimately changing the way the potato industry has been functioning. At first, the changes were slow but once the government started enforcing stricter guidelines things quickly changed, says AHDB in the UK in a news report end of the past week.
4/6/2020

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Potato Weekly: Standstill in Britain’s chipping market; growers trying to make planting decisions

In this week’s Potato Weekly report, issued yesterday by AHDB Potatoes, analyst Adian Wright writes that trade in the chipping market is at almost a complete standstill as most chip shops remain closed across the UK. Meanwhile, another week of good weather nationwide has meant that for many, planting of potatoes has continued at pace, but the uncertainty of how long certain markets may be unavailable is hanging over some growers who are trying to make planting decisions.
4/5/2020

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Organic humble heroes: New Zealand’s Whitfield Organics

Organic farmers are a small but growing sector in New Zealand. Considering consumer trends and the recent law changes, it’s time to “hero” the industry, writes Gemma Carroll, Communications & Engagement Officer at Potatoes New Zealand in a recent article. Not long ago, Gemma headed over to Clive, near Hastings, to meet with Hawkes Bay organic grower Brad Whitfield. Brad is a fourth generation grower who still shares some of the work with his 80 year old dad Dave.
4/5/2020

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Cavendish Farms to contract potato growers on Prince Edward Island: ‘Sell to someone else, if you can’

CBC reports this morning that potato processor Cavendish Farms has advised the Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato producers under contract to supply the company with spuds to “sell to other markets if they can,” as the company deals with a sharp drop in demand for its product in the wake of COVID-19-related restaurant closures. The company is currently in negotiations with Island potato growers through the P.E.I. Potato Board on a new contract.
4/3/2020

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Potato processing facilities shutting down in Western Europe; calls multiply for reduced planted area

In the European potato sector, the direct consequences of the Covid-19 crisis are stark and multiple, according to a report by FIWAP (Filiere wallonne de la pomme de terre), is the potato industry association of the potato growers in Wallonia, Belgium. several potato processing units are shutting down (totally or partially) in Western Europe, particularly those that supply fast-food restaurants and french fry outlets. Throughout the European northwest, calls for a reduction in the 2020 areas multiply.
4/3/2020

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British potato growers advised on wireworm damage and control

This season is the first where growers face managing wireworm without the key pesticide Mocap (ethoprophos) that has proved effective for some years in managing the costly pest. This means there will be a greater reliance on less-effective alternatives in combination with with cultural controls to keep the pest in check. Farmers Weekly looks at how growers can best manage wireworm, which in severe cases can lead to crop losses.
4/1/2020

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Increased potato demand sees Scottish supplier offer temporary jobs for anyone that needs them

A Perthshire-based veg supplier has announced a recruitment drive for temporary jobs at its factory in order to accommodate the country’s increased demand for potatoes since the coronavirus outbreak. Abernethy-based potato supplier Branston has created a range of new roles, including team leaders, machine operatives, forklift truck drivers and engineers.
4/1/2020

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Canada: How COVID-19 influenced the potato industry on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry had to scramble this month to respond to demand that changed seemingly overnight when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. “The last two or three weeks have been anything but typical in the potato world,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. “We all saw those images online and in the news and across the country where store shelves were becoming bare, and particularly of some essential items, and potatoes was one of them.”
3/31/2020

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Closure of chip shops in Britain bad news for potato growers

The closure of fish and chip shops due to coronavirus has left thousands of tonnes of potatoes languishing in storage – threatening to put farmers out of business, Farmers Weekly reports. Although government guidelines allow takeaway food outlets to remain open, 80-90% of fish and chip shops are said to have closed their doors. The decision has seen a slump in demand for chipping potatoes.
3/31/2020

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Spudnik to continue manufacturing during COVID-19 outbreak

This past Friday, Idaho-based Spudnik Equipment released a statement in which is said that all its locations will remain open and available to growers, despite the Stay at Home order issued last week in Idaho and other closures prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Ag and food workers defined as “critical” in this guidance include “Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution.”
3/30/2020

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GRIMME opens ‘test track’ for self-propelled harvesters

GRIMME announced on Friday that it has opened a ‘test track’ for self-propelled harvesters in the industrial area of Niedersachsenpark in Rieste, Germany. The goal is to use the track to put the performance of self-propelled harvesters to the test and train service technicians. It is located next to Grimme’s self-propelled harvester factory.
3/30/2020

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How the potato chip got its healthy new snack status

Potato chips have come a long way since the first mass produced varieties in the early 20th? century. Since then, the product has taken on many different forms to cater to evolving consumer needs, writes Thiago Roriz, TNA Solution’s General Manager for Latin America, in an article published by BakeryandSnacks.com.
3/30/2020

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The founder of Farm Frites International passed away

Piet de Bruijne earlier today announced that his father, Gerrit de Bruijne has passed away. Mr de Bruijne was the founder of Farm Frites International. He was born in 1933. The Board of Directors of Farm Frites International in the Netherlands issued a statement regarding funeral arrangements and ways in which you can pass on your condolences to the family.
3/29/2020

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Canada: Even the humble potato threatened by climate change

You can go down to your grocery store of choice and pick up five pounds of potatoes in Canada for a “Sir Wilfred Laurier” and change. Stolid, stable, and starchy, the potato is the essence of a staple crop. A potato plant is a living thing, and it’s no more immune to environmental stress than the next sessile organism, Colin Hodd of Cape Breton Post reports.
3/29/2020

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Inspiring: 90-year-old lady who beat coronavirus credits God and potato soup

A 90-year-old woman from Washington state is praising God, her family, and her homemade potato soup for helping her overcome the coronavirus, Katherine Rodrigues of Breitbard reports. “I beat the coronavirus,” Geneva Wood, of Kirkland, Washington, told Good Morning America. 
3/29/2020

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Will warm weather really kill off Covid-19?

Some people hope that outbreaks of the new coronavirus will wane as temperatures rise, but pandemics often don’t behave in the same way as seasonal outbreaks. BBC Future looks at what we know.
3/29/2020

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2019 and 2020 Webinars available on the World Potato Congress website

In a press release issued earlier this week, the World Potato Congress Inc notes that in case you missed one of its webinars, rest assured that they are all available on the World Potato Congress website at www.potatocongress.org.  WPC provided a list of all past webinars now on the website.
3/28/2020

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Europatat Congress 2020 cancelled

Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, regrets to inform that the Europatat Congress 2020, scheduled to take place on 11 and 12 June in Brussels, will be cancelled following the escalation of COVID-19 crisis in Europe. For Europatat, the safety and wellbeing of the Congress’ participants, speakers and partners is its number one priority.
3/28/2020

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NPC welcomes ag benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed end of the week in the US, a $2 trillion bill with significant benefits to the US potato supply chain. This comes a day after the Senate passed by the bill by a 96-0 vote. The bill has been sent to President Trump for his expected signature.
3/28/2020

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Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest. This is near to the lowest level ever measured in the N.B. potato industry, which was 0.43% in the 2016 harvest.
3/19/2020

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Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.
3/18/2020

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Australian shoppers urged to eat smarter and add more potatoes to supermarket trolleys

Australians stockpiling groceries to prepare for COVID-19 are being warned against wasting food by a leading Australian authority. Focusing on reducing household waste would save money and create less concern about running out of supplies, according to the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre chief executive officer Dr Steven Lapidge. His message is being backed by the South Australian potato industry as it launches its own campaign reminding shoppers of the merits of the humble potato.
3/18/2020

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US: Useful guides published for fungicides, fertilizer and growth promotion products

Potato Grower magazine recently published a Fungicide Buyers’ Guide in its March 2020 issue. The editor of the magazine says that “over the years, growers, researchers and chemical reps have worked tirelessly to develop sustainable, economical solutions to the problems posed by these fungal maladies. Potato Grower’s fungicide buyers’ guide showcases a few of those solutions.” A Fertilizer and Growth Promoter Buyers’ Guide was also published in the March 2020 issue of Potato Grower.
3/17/2020

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Potato news update from Russia

The Potato Union of Russia and the Russian magazine Potato System recently came to an agreement to collaborate in an initiative to inform the commercial potato industry about important industry and government events, promotion of the achievements of agricultural producers, and more. “We hope that the transition to a new level of cooperation will expand the capabilities of both parties and allow us to solve professional problems even more successfully and efficiently,” says the Chief Editor of Potato System, Olga Maxaeva
3/17/2020

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Expert Opinion: What could the coronavirus mean for the global potato industry?

The spread and fear of coronavirus has stepped up a gear this week, with more than 110 countries or territories reporting 129,000 cases and more than 4, 000 deaths between them, writes potato market analyst Cedric Porter. The virus is having an impact on the potato industry, Porter says. Some countries are reporting an increase in table potato sales as people stock up on essential goods, but processing potato prices, especially in Europe, have plunged on physical and futures markets.
3/17/2020

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Potatoes USA has retailers’ backs with ‘Path to Purchase’ study

Lilian Diep is a trade news writer with AndNowUKnow. She recently wrote in an article: “I’m now privy to a wealth of resources, including Kayla Dome, Global Marketing Manager of Retail for Potatoes USA. I sat down with Kayla to find out how retailers can engage with consumers to capitalize on this staple category and maximize profits.” Below is some of what Lilian found out. In a recent collab, Potatoes USA tapped Kantar Insights Consulting to gather information for a Fresh Potatoes Path to Purchase study from potato shoppers at food retailers, mass merchandise retailers, club stores, and grocery online shoppers. The results?
3/17/2020

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Crop rotation: Call in a nurse. A ‘nurse’ crop, that is

Recent years have seen increased attention on the health of the soil used in potato production, and attempts to bring potatoes into longer rotations with other crops, writes Ralph Pearce, CG Production Editor in Country Guide. He says that in Canada’s Maritime provinces, seed companies are promoting soybeans or corn as rotational options, and McCain has developed one- and two-year multi-species cover crop blends to help boost organic matter and limit erosion.
3/15/2020

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Expert Opinion: What could the coronavirus mean for the global potato industry?

The spread and fear of coronavirus has stepped up a gear this week, with more than 110 countries or territories reporting 129,000 cases and more than 4, 000 deaths between them, writes potato market analyst Cedric Porter in this week’s issue of World Potato Markets.The virus is having an impact on the potato industry, Porter says. Some countries are reporting an increase in table potato sales as people stock up on essential goods, but processing potato prices, especially in Europe, have plunged on physical and futures markets.
3/14/2020

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Potatoes USA considers effects of coronavirus on consumer behaviour

Tom Karst writes in The Packer that the 2020 annual meeting of Potatoes USA proceeded as planned even as news was breaking that the NCAA decided to exclude fans from its annual post-season basketball tournament the coronavirus, COVID-19.  The “anxiety economy” existed before both the coronavirus and the escalation of the 2020 presidential race, said John Toaspern, chief marketing officer for Potatoes USA. “People are nervous; they aren’t really sure what to do,” he said. Millennials are delaying having children because they are concerned about the future, he said.
3/13/2020

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Canada to invest millions into Potato Early Dying disease research

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, spoke to growers from across the country at the Canadian Horticultural Council‘s (CHC) annual meeting announced a federal investment of over $2.3 million to support the Council’s research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million. The purpose of the project is said to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying, which results in premature aging, limiting potato yield by as much as 50 per cent.
3/13/2020

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CIP and partners publish a ‘Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics’

The full title of this new book, authored by scientists working at CIP, INIAP, and CORPOICA in Latin America, is Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics. Ten years of experience in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It is edited by Jorge Andrade-Piedra, Peter Kromann, Victor Otazú. Aeroponics is a technique for producing potato minitubers (corresponding to the pre-basic seed category) in formal seed systems, that is, systems in which the State regulates the production and distribution of certified seed.
3/13/2020

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Winds of change: Which countries were the top 15 potato producers during 1961-2019?

In this animated video, the change in the top 15 potato producing countries globally is depicted year-on-year for the time period starting in 1961 until last year. The list of countries and the production figures are based on data made available by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The total world production for potatoes in 2019 was 376,826,967 metric tonnes, with China by far the largest producer, accounting for 26.3% of world production. This was certainly not the case in 1961. There was statistically many changes in the Top 15 ranking of total potato production since then.
3/11/2020

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McCain and Simplot in court battle over pre-treatment technology patent

J.R. Simplot and McCain Foods have spent the last few years battling in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho over issues related to – unsurprisingly – potatoes, with each party asserting a design patent related to a spiraled potato, writes Anthony Fuga of Knight and Holland. However, in a recent blog, Fuga reports on the challenge to McCain’s utility patent that is directed to the process of using high-energy electric field technology to pre-treat potatoes (and other vegetables) before cutting and cooking them.
3/11/2020

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EuroBlight issues report with details on the 2019 late blight monitoring results

EuroBlight is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen and now reports on the 2019 results. Approximately 1800 samples from 27 countries were genotyped. In general, blight pressure is said to have been low which reduced sample numbers in many regions. However, episodes of high disease pressure resulted in serious outbreaks in other areas such as northern Britain and Denmark.
3/10/2020

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How the humble potato changed the world

In his 1957 essay collection Mythologies, the French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes called chips (la frite), a food that comes from a crop native to the Americas. Despite its origins in the Andes, it’s an incredibly successful global food.  Just a century earlier, a potato disease prompted a famine that halved Ireland’s population in a few years, producing a decades-long cascading effect of social and economic turmoil. And as you read these lines, the world’s leading potato producers today are China, India, Russia and Ukraine, respectively.
3/9/2020

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World Potato Congress: ‘Africa could displace North America as the third largest potato producer’

The world’s potato production growth stagnated in 2018 and couldn’t recover in 2019, according to a recent statement by the World Potato Congress (WPC). It is said that in total, 368,247,000 tons were produced in 2018, according to FAO. Even so, it was the third-highest production after 2017 and 2014. The only continent that saw an increase in its potato plantations in 2018 was Africa (3.3% to 1,904,000 hectares), which could displace North America in 2020 as the third-biggest potato producer.
3/8/2020

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UK: End of January stocks, drawdown and market implications

This past Friday, AHDB Potatoes issued a report in which it is said that grower held potato stocks at the end of January 2020 are estimated at 2.13Mt. This is 15% more than last season and 3% more than the 5 year average (2014-2018). This increase in grower held stocks year-on-year comes despite the end of November estimates standing at the lowest levels since 2012.
3/8/2020

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