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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

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




Potato News

British potato growers’ seed treatment options cut further

Potato growers must prepare to treat their seed with a different application method this season, after the loss of Monceren for rhizoctonia control. About 30% of powder users applied Monceren (pencycuron) in 2019, which was the only powder treatment still allowed to be hand sprinkled on seed tubers. However, after Bayer announced that it was pulling the product from the market due to uncertainty over its regulatory future, previous users must change their application methods.
2/8/2020

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Export restrictions strangling onion, potato producers in Turkey

Restrictions that Turkey’s government imposed on potato and onion exports have left producers struggling to shift their stock and could lead to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wasted crops, Turkey’s Dünya newspaper reported. In late 2018, the government accused producers of speculatively stockpiling crops after food price inflation skyrocketed, leaving consumers struggling to buy staple goods. Police raided food warehouses, while the government set up subsidised food stalls.
2/7/2020

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Idaho farmers celebrate signing of USMCA trade pact

Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, said the new North American trade agreement recently signed by President Trump “levels the playing field for Idaho potato farmers.” The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact is Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 1994, according to the Associated Press. The USMCA is designed to update the 26-year-old trade agreement to consider the rise of e-commerce and other technological changes. It also aims to encourage factories to move production to the United States, AP reported.
2/7/2020

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Volm's European partner Manter merges with Solidtec

Volm Companies, Inc., an industry leader in providing the highest quality packaging and equipment solutions to the fresh produce industry, has announced that its partner, Manter International B.V. of Emmen in the Netherlands, has acquired shares in Solidtec BV.  Solidtec, based in Dronten in the Netherlands, has been manufacturing gantry style palletizing systems for fresh produce and other markets since 1999.  The merger allows for a close collaboration between the companies.
1/28/2020

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Study to test potato product’s effects on chronic kidney disease

Could a starch derived from raw potatoes slow the damaging effects of chronic kidney disease? A Manitoba, Canada clinical trial will test that idea by asking people with the disease to mix a flavourless powdered supplement into a drink, such as a smoothie, each day. Dr. Dylan MacKay, assistant professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba and clinical trialist at the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (a partnership between the U of M and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority), is leading the study.
1/28/2020

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Dutch potato processing firms explore opportunities in India

Dutch based potato processing companies are exploring opportunities to further develop the sector amid increased consumption for higher-end potato products. These Dutch companies are here to take part in Global Potato Conclave. The three-day event will start from Tuesday in Gandhinagar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the conclave through video conferencing. As many as seventeen Dutch companies — engaged in potato processing equipments, storage and cooling solutions, seed potatoes, harvesting, and technical solutions — are part of the business delegate participating in the conclave.
1/27/2020

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Good yields but high costs for Argentine potatoes

Before the imminent start of the new potato harvest in the southeast of Buenos Aires, engineers Sergio Costantino (director of Argenpapa) and Ricardo Bergonzi (private advisor) analyzed the profitability of this crop, which hasn’t yielded positive figures for farmers during the last two campaigns. According to them, “in this campaign, there will be average yields that can significantly exceed those of recent years. An oversupply and high costs can lead to another year of bankruptcy for potato producers, just like the previous two years.”
1/27/2020

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US: Potato council CEO hails trade deals

Despite the fact that the U.S. Congress is deeply divided along partisan lines, legislators are still getting a lot of important bills passed — including a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. “A lot of things have actually gotten done in the last few months,” said Kam Quarles, the chief executive of the National Potato Council. Quarles, who spoke to the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, noted that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed both houses of Congress “with huge bipartisan votes.”
1/27/2020

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Bord Bia, CNIPT, Europatat and VLAM join forces to promote the consumption of fresh potatoes among European millennials

CNIPT, Bord Bia, Europatat and VLAM have launched an inspiring campaign under the title “Potatoes, prepare to be surprised – Europe’s favourite since 1536”. The joint initiative, which is co-financed by the European Commission under the EU Promotion policy, will run from January 2020 to December 2022 and will encourage the consumption of fresh potatoes among millennials in Flanders (Belgium), France and Ireland. Young consumers in other EU countries will also be reached thanks to the translation of recipes into Italian, German, Spanish and Polish.
1/27/2020

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Trump’s new school lunches guidelines say pasta is a vegetable and potatoes are fruit

Americans love pasta almost as much as Italians do – and it’s easy to see why, because they do it very, very well. But it seems that some people, even those working in government, seem to be a bit confused about the health side of things. Certain types of pasta are to be considered a vegetable for millions of public school meals, according to new rules proposed by president Trump’s administration.  The proposed guidelines also would permanently consider potatoes and other starchy foods as a fruit.
1/26/2020

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UK: Potatoes and parsnips ‘grow on trees’

One in 20 British adults believes potatoes grow on trees and 37% believe apples are a tropical fruit, The Press and Journal reports. Those were some of the findings from a survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the Mushroom Bureau – an organisation which promotes freshly-grown mushrooms in Britain. The survey also found 15% believe mushrooms grow underground, 7% believe parsnips are grown on trees, and three-quarters never check the label to see where their food comes from when shopping.
1/26/2020

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USDA: Fresh potatoes are part of the trade deal with China

According to the official trade text, the USDA and China will sign and implement phytosanitary protocols allowing American fresh potato imports into China for processing. The signing ceremony was essentially a commitment to open the market by February 24th. While the potato industry is happy with the language, they understand it’s not a done deal at this point.  Matt Lantz, Vice President of Global Access at Bryant Christie, said now, a market access protocol must be created.
1/24/2020

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French potato growers' union says quotas for the 2020 harvest contracts not met

At the end of 2019, the National Union of Potato Producers in France (UNPT) had warned that the 2020 potato contracts should take into account the explosion of production costs, the risks and the necessary valuation of the work of potato producers under the provisions of the EGAlim law. Based on the first contract offers received by the producers at the beginning of this year, UNPT claims that the quotas are not met.
1/24/2020

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UK: RBR Crops to stop growing potatoes

Hort News reports that Norfolk potato supplier RBR Crops says it will stop growing potatoes in order to concentrate on more profitable merchant, seed, storage and consultancy activities, and that sadly ten jobs will be lost with the changes. The company, which was founded in 1965, says the decision has been driven by continued cost pressures, the price of rented land, and low margins.
1/23/2020

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EPA approval for Syngenta's Vibrance Ultra Potato seed treatment

Vibrance Ultra Potato seed treatment from Syngenta gives growers the disease-fighting strength they need to start the season strong, the company says. Vibrance Ultra Potato, a combination of three trusted, proven active ingredients, recently received EPA approval for use in potatoes in the US. This all-in-one liquid formulation provides broad-spectrum protection against key seed- and soil-borne diseases, including control of seed-borne late blight and silver scurf seed decay, and suppression of pink rot.
1/23/2020

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Spudnik sees good response at two-day event

The Spudnik Equipment Company’s annual open house has grown through the years to now feature more emphasis on education starting this year with an ag summit focusing on potatoes. The event at the Spudnik facility west of Blackfoot was held Monday and Tuesday with full production tours beginning each day at 10 a.m. A career night was held Monday and Tuesday night included a customer appreciation dinner, with around 1,500 guests expected to attend.
1/22/2020

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Vendors at Idaho Ag Expo say farmers are optimistic and looking to buy

Vendors at the Eastern Idaho Ag Expo said Idaho farmers are optimistic based on improved prices of a few key commodities, and they’re looking to upgrade equipment and procure new services. The Ag Expo is hosted at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena from Jan. 21-23, in conjunction with the Idaho Potato Conference, hosted from Jan. 22-23 at the university’s Pond Student Union Building. The vendors brought their latest technology, which is getting bigger, faster and more efficient.
1/22/2020

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European potato growers facing increasing competition at home and abroad

The potato industry is facing many challenges in terms of import and retail competition, growing the crop and recruiting skilled labour, Marianne Curtis of Farmers Guardian reports. Speaking at an AHDB/Catchment Sensitive Farming meeting on sustainable potato production, held in North Yorkshire in the UK, Rufus Pilgrim, managing director of R.S. Cockerill, outlined some of the issues facing growers.
1/22/2020

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Japanese firms brace for climate change

In 2016, three tropical storms blew through Hokkaido in northern Japan in just one week. It was the first time this had happened since record-keeping began. Potato crops in the prefecture were badly damaged. Calbee Potato in Hokkaido stores potatoes for sale to producers of more than 100 food items, including chips. The potato shortage caused by the storms meant 33 products had to be discontinued or production suspended.
1/21/2020

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New MountainKing merchandising program focuses on baby potatoes

As sales of baby Golds, Reds and Medley potatoes continue to climb, MountainKing is embarking on an aggressive program to provide its retail partners with turnkey, display-ready options aimed at driving sales of the smaller, pre-sized variety.  “Small potatoes are under-promoted and under-merchandised,” says MountainKing vice president of sales and marketing.  “We’re working to change that narrative in a big way.”
1/21/2020

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UK: M&S sparks fury as it sells pre-cut spuds in eco-unfriendly plastic pouches

It takes just a few seconds – but peeling and cutting up a potato seems to be the latest task too far for today’s time-starved millennials. They are turning their backs on the humble spud and buying pre-sliced potatoes instead. The easy spuds have appeared for the first time on shelves at M&S – which also sells pre-peeled garlic – after the store’s research showed just two per cent of shoppers wanted to prepare dinner every day, the Daily Mail reports.
1/21/2020

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Belpotato.be: Interbranch organization takes off in Belgium

On January 20, the founding deed of Belpotato.be was officially signed in Huldenberg. The composition of the Executive Board ensures that there are balances between growers, traders and processors, and between Dutch and French speakers. Jean-Pierre van Puymbrouck becomes the first chairman. In the first working year, the secretariat is provided by Pierre Lebrun (Fiwap) and Kurt Cornelissen (PCA).
1/21/2020

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Haith to double its presence at Potato Expo event

Haith is doubling its presence at this year’s Potato Expo, to be held next week in Las Vegas, January 14-15. UK based Haith Group, which has been designing and supplying innovative solutions for farmers, packers and food manufacturers since 1964, will showcase its full range of machines in Las Vegas at the Expo. In previous year’s Haith has exhibited alongside Fox Solutions, its agent in North America and Canada. This year, to double its presence at the event, Duane Hill, Haith’s sales director, will be manning booth 1210.
1/10/2020

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Key Technology acquires Herbert Solutions

Key Technology, a leading global designer and manufacturer of digital sorting, inspection, conveying and other processing equipment, and a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, has acquired Herbert Solutions, enhancing its portfolio of potato and vegetable equipment solutions. Herbert has established itself as a leader in serving the root crop and fresh produce markets with an assortment of industry leading sorting, washing and handling solutions. They are headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
1/10/2020

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Webinar: Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership: Durable late blight resistance to South East Asia

The World Potato Congress (WPC) is pleased to be offering the first webinar in its 2020 series featuring Dr. David Douches on January 24, 2020 at 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (USA and Canada).  The Feed the Future – Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is a five-year, multi-institution cooperative agreement between MSU, USAID, Simplot Company and other global institutions to develop and bring to market improved potato products to low-income farmers in South East Asian countries.
1/10/2020

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Report: Potato Chips Market Overview in the United Kingdom

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘United Kingdom – Potato Chips – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of some of the report’s key findings. The revenue of the potato chips (french fry) market in the UK amounted to $686M in 2018, dropping by -4.6% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).
1/10/2020

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Potato pest-management seminar to look at trial results

Results of research trials funded by the Northwest Potato Research Consortium and other publicly funded research will be discussed as part of an upcoming potato pest-management seminar, according to a report by Capital Press. Jeff Miller, plant pathologist and principal with seminar host Miller Research LLC, said the trials looked at 13 measurements on eight varieties. Disease problems were fairly minimal last year for Idaho potato growers in general, Miller said. Temperatures weren’t as high as usual for much of the season, though heavy rains early on contributed to some isolated seed-decay problems.
1/8/2020

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Utz Quality Foods completes merger with Kitchen Cooked

Utz Quality Foods, LLC announced today that it has completed the merger with Kitchen Cooked Inc. The acquisition includes the Kitchen Cooked snack food brand, direct store delivery (aka DSD) operations and its manufacturing operations. The Kitchen Cooked snack food brand brings with it a range of fan-favorite potato chips, Kettle Kurls, Kettle Pops, popcorn, pretzels and more. “We are very excited about the opportunity to add this important snack food brand and set of capabilities to our portfolio,” said Dylan Lissette, Chief Executive Officer, Utz Quality Foods, LLC.
1/7/2020

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PepsiCo boosts Ethiopia’s snack market with majority stake acquisition in local crisps producer

The Frito-Lay and Walkers Crisps maker has acquired a majority shareholding of Senselet Food Processing, an Ethiopian potato crisps company founded by Veris Investments in 2015. Veris claims Senselet has a leading market position in Ethiopia with its Sun Chips brand, which uses locally-sourced potatoes. The Netherlands-based private equity firm says it set up Senselet to contribute to the development of the potato value chain in Ethiopia.
1/7/2020

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Idaho's net farm income up 50 percent for 2019; potato revenue up 15 percent

Idaho farmers pocketed 50 percent more profits in 2019 than during the prior year, according to a recent University of Idaho economic report. According to an article published by Post Register, the hefty gain in statewide net farm income was led by strong dairy, potato and sugar beet prices, explained UI Extension economist Ben Eborn, who co-authored the report with UI Extension economist Garth Taylor. Taylor presented the report’s findings to state lawmakers on Jan. 2. The combination of fewer planted potato acres, lower yields and poor 2019 harvest conditions, both in Idaho and nationally, have resulted in a tight spud supply and strong prices. Idaho potato growers will earn an estimated $1.1 billion in revenue for 2019. Idaho Falls farmer Marc Thiel — who grows crops including malt barley, potatoes for the fresh market and hay and also raises cattle — said 2019 was a good year and “the potatoes will definitely carry the weight.”
1/6/2020

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Earliest roasted root vegetables, similar to modern potatoes, found in 170,000-year-old cave dirt

Charred fragments found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave in southern Africa are the earliest roasted root vegetables yet found. The finding suggest the real “paleo diet” included lots of roasted vegetables rich in carbohydrates, similar to modern potatoes. “I think people were eating a very balanced diet, a combination of carbohydrates and proteins,” says team leader Lyn Wadley of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. In 2016, her team found dozens of bits of charcoal in an ash layer in the Border cave in South Africa. This ash layer is what is left from the fires of early people.
1/6/2020

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Patented sterile fogging system shows potential for growing seed potatoes

Seed potatoes are being grown aeroponically and in addition to being free from pests and diseases, are yielding more and costing less than when they are grown conventionally, according to a report by Farmers Guardian in the UK. These are the findings of Airponix, which has patented a sterile fog generation system which supplies all the nutrients and water needed by the potatoes. Anri Brand of the company says the fogging system is very low pressure. “We can do it economically and it allows the use of a lot less water.”  The fog droplets are said to allow each plant to receive the same amount of water and nutrients irrespective of where it is in the glasshouse, ensuring higher overall crop yields. The system does not require LEDs or other artificial light sources and follows the natural season with slightly earlier planting than for conventional potatoes at the end of February, says Barry Robertson, horticultural production manager at Airponix.
1/6/2020

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It took a court to decide whether Pringles are potato chips or not…

Chances are, you probably haven’t given much thought to that can of Pringles other than wondering “how do I get the last few potato chips out of the tube without greasing up my arms?” As it turns out, this salty snack has quite a story. It once was in the middle of a massive controversy that questioned the ingredients and whether the chips were actually potato chips at all. From 2007 to 2009, the makers of the “once-you-pop-you-can’t-stop” chips stood in front of three different levels of the British judiciary trying to defend the decision that Pringles chips were not — by definition — potato chips. Here’s how this comically complicated problem started.
1/6/2020

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Lamb Weston sees strong second-quarter sales volume growth

Improved sales volumes in Lamb Weston, Inc.’s Global and Foodservice business units propelled the potato processor’s net income up 18% during the second quarter of fiscal 2020, according to a report by Baking Business. Net income for the quarter ended Nov. 24, 2019, totaled $140.4 million, equal to 96c per share on the common stock. It was an increase when compared with the same period of the previous year when the company earned $119 million, or 74c per share.
1/6/2020

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Optimising combinations and timings could be answer to loss of CIPC

With a new decade of challenges and opportunities ahead in the potato sector, the 30th Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association (CUPGRA) conference at Robinson College in the UK focused on building business resilience. By using combinations of existing sprout suppressant technology and new physiologically-targeted treatments, the possibility to achieve equivalent results to chlorpropham (CIPC) is ‘within reach’, a new study has found.
1/6/2020

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Lockwood announces the Mobile TANK

LOCKWOOD Manufacturing announced the launch of the Mobile TANK, continuing their commitment to innovation in the potato equipment industry and boosting their 2020 product line up. The Mobile TANK continues the trend of self-contained mobility in potato handling offered by LOCKWOOD. While this impressive new piece of equipment coming in 2020 is designed to complement LOCKWOOD’s already efficient VACS Mobile™ and VACS-8, the Mobile TANK is a perfect addition for any pre-storage cleaning system. This new piece of equipment provides a controlled flow of product, allowing growers to maximize efficiency during harvest.
1/6/2020

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UK: How irrigation is changing on an AHDB potato demo farm

The economic and environmental costs associated with irrigating 440ha of potatoes at AHDB’s Strategic Potato (Spot) Farm North in the UK prompted a rethink on the best way to maintain product quality in the face of an increasingly unpredictable climate, according to a report published by Farmers Weekly. Keen to bring those costs down and prepare for the future, the existing irrigation system, based on diesel engines and guns, was torn apart and replaced, recalls farm manager Will Gagg of RJ & AE Godfrey in North Lincolnshire. As a result, the operating costs of the new system are now running at almost half what they used to be.
1/6/2020

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Viewpoint: Science denialism threatens the potential of gene-edited crops

The genetic revolution being ushered in by gene-editing promises to markedly improve our crops by making them resistant to drought, disease and insects, and by enhancing their nutritional content. At first blush, it might appear that foods engineered to address some of our nagging health issues would be widely embraced. Not so for the organizations that have demonized other GM crops as “unnatural” and potentially dangerous to human and animal health and the environment. Many of those groups are now turning their attention to newer crop breeding techniques.
12/15/2019

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China: Nice weather boosts struggling potato industry

According to a recent GAIN report (USDA), potato farmers in China are expected to reap a bumper harvest, with fresh potato production increasing by 5 percent year on year in marketing year 2019/20. Favorable weather in key growing regions will boost China’s processed potato production, particularly in the fast-growing area of frozen french fries. China’s additional tariffs on U.S. processed potato products will result in decreased imports of frozen french fries.
12/13/2019

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Chip makers’ experimentation with flavor pays off

Chip purchases are nearly universal with 94% of respondents to a 2019 Mintel survey saying they bought some kind of chips in the past year. Consumers gravitate to familiar brands and tastes and perceive chips as an indulgence, which may be a challenge to market expansion, but opportunities lie in new flavor combinations, functionality and healthy innovations.
12/13/2019

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Weather issues affect US potato crops

Weather issues during the 2019 growing and harvest season had potato prices soaring during the pre-holiday period, with little change expected after the first of the year, marketers said. A hard freeze swept into Idaho in October and affected some of the crop, although most spuds across the state had come out of the ground by then, said Ross Johnson, international marketing director with the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission.
12/13/2019

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Canada: International Potato Technology Expo returns to Prince Edward Island

The International Potato Technology Expo returns to the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on February 21-22, 2020. The event welcomes those who grow and package potatoes, together with the leading manufacturers of equipment and product solutions from across the Maritimes and beyond. The highly successful international event has been held biennially for more than two decades.
12/13/2019

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Australian potatoes explore Egypt

A trade delegation including Western Australian (WA) potato industry leaders toured Egypt in November, confirming the potential to export at least 10,000 tonnes of seed potatoes.  The delegation focused on connecting with commercial operators at all levels of the Egyptian supply chain involved in potato crisp processing. This visit followed a 2017 visit, which identified the market as having significant potential for WA seed potato exports.
12/12/2019

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Maine Potato Board preps for exciting season ahead

The Maine Potato Board is aiming to continue its winning streak by following up on last year’s very successful season with one that is nearly as good. “We’ve just been over a long harvest that went much longer than we hoped, but that being said, we got the crop out of the ground and I think it’s a quality crop and I don’t see any issues as far as storage, so I guess we’re pretty thankful that way compared to what happened across some other parts of the potato industry,” said Donald E. Flannery, executive director of the board, headquartered in Presque Isle, ME.
12/12/2019

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Canadian potato production in 2019 up by 2.4%

Statistics Canada has estimated Canadian potato production in 2019 to be up 2.4% or 2,472,000 hundred weight above the 5-yr average in Canada. With demand growing for potato products, growers in the spring of 2019 planted an additional 3.7% or 13,000 acres to meet these expansion requirements. Unfortunately, poor harvest conditions, particularly in Western Canada, have resulted in 20,296 acres being abandoned in farmers fields.
12/11/2019

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North America: Processed potato needs influence fresh market

The chip, frozen and other potato-processing businesses continue to touch the fresh industry, but that touch might be a bit stronger this year, marketers say. “We have all heard of the news in the U.S.,” said Ross Johnson, international marketing director with the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission.  He noted the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that, overall, the U.S. potato crop will be down 6%, compared to a year earlier.
12/11/2019

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New trade agreement good news for spud exports to Mexico

The recent approval of an updated trade agreement for North America is good news for U.S. potato growers who do business in Mexico, according to the top official with the potato industry’s lobbying organization.  National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles said Tuesday’s announcement of the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement should “stabilize” potato exports to America’s southern neighbor. More than $250 million in U.S. potato products are currently shipped annually into Mexico, which is the third largest foreign market for U.S. spuds behind Japan and Canada, according to NPC.
12/11/2019

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America braces for possible french fry shortage after poor potato harvest

Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep French fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada. Cool conditions started to hit growing regions in October, lashing potatoes with frost. Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were able to dig up some damaged crops for storage. But growers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota received snow and rain, forcing them to abandon some supplies in fields.
12/4/2019

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Good export prospects reported for European finished potato products

The European export of fries increased slightly this past September compared to September 2018. In the 12 months from October to September, the total volume exported by the European Union to third world countries reached 1.64 million tons, which is 5.2% less, due to the lack of availability of products during the recent season, according to a report published by FreshPlaza. The decrease is said to be the strongest towards Asia and South America. However, trade to North America progressed sharply with more than 100,000 tons of fries exported (almost a 50% increase!). The 2019 North American production is expected to be much lower (-1 to 1.5 million tons) due to rains and frost of the past couple of months. As a consequence, the prospects for the export of European products are rather favorable. European shipments to central America also increased (73,000 tons, or +17%) This is a region usually supplied by the American factories.
12/4/2019

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Pepsico launches Lay's BIO onto the Spanish market, its first organic potato chips

PepsiCo is launching its first 100% organic potato chips: Lay’s BIO onto the Spanish market. The new product has the European certification that guarantees the organic cultivation of its ingredients, as well as the absence of additives. This new product is made with locally-grown potatoes and high quality organic sunflower oil. This, together with a careful production process, results in a crunchy texture and a delicious flavor.
12/3/2019

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