US: Northwest Potato Research Consortium awarded grants for 37 regional potato projects

Northwest Potato Research Consortium has awarded grants for 37 regional potato projectsThe Northwest Potato Research Consortium recently approved a combined $1.5 million in grant funding to 37 research projects. The consortium, formed in 2012, is funded with $650,000 each from the Idaho and Washington potato commissions and $200,000 from the Oregon Potato Commission to support regional potato research. Andy Jensen, who manages the consortium, said researchers were invited to present potential projects to the consortium during an October meeting in Boise, where 51 projects were approved to be re-submitted as full proposals. More

UK: Sainsbury Laboratory received approval for trial of GMO potatoes

The Sainsbury Laboratory received approval for a four-year trial of genetically modified (GM) potatoesIn the United Kingdom, farming minister George Eustice (DEFRA) has approved a four-year trial of genetically modified (GM) potatoes at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich between 2017 and 2021. The trial site, which is at the John Innes Centre, must meet various restrictions, including maintaining a width of 20 metres around the GM plants, and not exceed 1,000 sq m in size. The field trials are part of TSL’s Potato Partnership Project to develop a Maris Piper potato that is blight and nematode resistant, bruises less and produces less acrylamide when cooked at high temperatures. More

PepsiCo Greater China Region (GCR) signs strategic agreement with online retailer Alibaba

PepsicoPepsiCo Greater China Region (GCR) signed a strategic agreement with Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company. The collaboration enables PepsiCo to further enhance consumer experiences by leveraging Alibaba’s data to introduce innovative marketing initiatives, customized products and integrated omnichannel solutions. The agreement was signed at the PepsiCo Asia R&D Center in Shanghai, by Mike Spanos, PepsiCo GCR President & CEO, and Jet Jing, Vice President of Alibaba Group.  Continue reading

US: Washington State potato producers to vote on marketing order

Washington State potato producers will vote from June 9–23, 2017, on whether to continue the federal marketing order regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington. Producers who have produced potatoes in Washington from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, are eligible to vote. A continuance referendum is required every six years. The Washington potato marketing order provides authority for the regulation of potato grade, size, quality, maturity, and container. The state of Washington Potato Committee locally administers the marketing order. Notice of the referendum in the Federal Register.

Report: Global Potato Chips Market 2017

Global Potato Chips MarketGlobal Potato Chips Market 2017 Research Report offers an analysis of the growth rate of the Potato Chips industry. This report scrutinizes current market trends, future growth potential, dominant market growth drivers, elements impeding market growth, opportunities, market framework, market challenges, market future prognosis and best practices in the global Potato Chips market. The report serves as a valuable guide for industry players and other individuals who are interested in studying the Potato Chips market. More

Pepsico: ‘New emission targets keep global warming below two degrees Celcius’

<em>Edit Brand</em> LaysEarlier this week, PepsiCo confirmed that its ambitious new target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction has been verified and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative as being in line with what climate science says is necessary to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. The global food and beverage company has committed to work to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its value chain by at least 20 percent by 2030. Under its Performance with Purpose vision, PepsiCo has already had significant success in limiting its GHG emissions.  Continue reading

Great Britain’s potato stocks at similar level as last year

Great Britain potato stocks at similar level as last year. Great Britain’s grower-held potato stock levels at the end of March 2017 were at 1Mt, around the same volume as the end-March 2016 and 300Kt less than the end-March 2015 according to an AHDB estimate. Despite the similarity in stock levels, any repeat of the high prices seen in 2016 will depend on a number of factors including availability of purchasers own stocks, quality of stored stocks and growing conditions for the current season.  Continue reading

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

Genetically engineered potatoes approved for MaineWith little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved on Friday morning the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight, the disease that caused the mid-19th century Irish Potato Famine and which remains a problem today. More

Japan’s potato shortage could last until the fall

Japan's usually robust range of potato chip products is likely to be limited until fall as Hokkaido, the major potato-growing region, recovers from four typhoons that hit it last summer. | ISTOCKHokkaido’s potato farmers haven’t recovered from last summer’s typhoons, which means consumers will have to wait until at least fall before the usual range of potato chip products returns to store shelves. The farm ministry expects the chip shortage to last until the island prefecture’s next harvest gets underway in September. About 80 percent of Japan’s potatoes are grown in Hokkaido. Potatoes used in processed foods account for roughly 30 percent of all production in Hokkaido. More

Potato news posts

Dear folks,

Due to personal health concerns, news postings to Potato News Today will not be made for a few weeks – and I apologize for that. But I will for sure be back, posting the latest news that reach my desk as soon as I can.
With kind wishes and spud greetings for now…


Potatoes grown from Dutch seeds may save Africa from hunger

Potatoes grown from Dutch seeds yield two to four times bigger harvests for small-scale, poor farmers in East Africa than potatoes grown using local seed potatoes. These findings are the result of initial tests using experimental varieties grown from potato seeds by Wageningen-based agro-tech company Solynta in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As such, potatoes grown from seeds may prove to be an effective means to provide not only the growing population of Africa, but also those of India, Bangladesh and China with more and better food, and thus contributes to reducing hunger. For several years now, Solynta has been working on breeding potatoes grown from the actual seeds of potato plants. This method allows one to develop new varieties of potatoes faster, varieties that are better able to withstand potato blights, in turn making the use of pesticides obsolete. More

North America: Guarding against Dickeya

With clean seed recognized as the best defence against this new blackleg-causing pathogen, the demand for Dickeya testing is growing fast. After triggering major crop losses in the United States, Dickeya has been dominating the potato meetings circuit in North America for the past year or two. In Canada, some of the discussions revolve around the consequences for growers should the new disease makes its way into this country — but some industry experts maintain Dickeya is likely already here. “I don’t know what the extent is [in Canada], but we found Dickeya in samples that were sent to us from Ontario and from New Brunswick,” says Gary Secor, professor of plant pathology at North Dakota State University (NDSU). “I think that certainly the potential is there for Dickeya to be present and I think the Canadian farmer should be aware of that and take it seriously.” More

Egyptian potatoes imported by Syria to tackle high prices

In order to ensure that the needs of the domestic market are met and to put an end to the dramatic increase of prices caused by the Syrian crisis, a batch of 5 thousand tonnes of Egyptian potatoes has been shipped and will be distributed in a number of provinces. A source from the Ministry of Commerce has reported that the cause of the high potato prices in the Syrian market is the lower domestic production, as well as the rising demand for potatoes. The source has also pointed out that the importation of potatoes will stop in late March, which is when a new domestic campaign is expected to kick off. It is worth noting that, before the onset of the crisis, the Syrian market had enjoyed near self-sufficiency. (Source:

US approves 3 more types of Simplot GMO potatoes for sale this year

Genetically modified potatoes that won’t bruise are a step closer to public consumption as early as this fall, now that Simplot Co. has received final government approval to grow and sell them.The federal government has given the final OK to three more types of potatoes genetically engineered by Boise’s J.R. Simplot Co. to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine. They are safe for the environment and safe to eat, officials announced. The approvals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration last month mean Simplot is free to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall. The approvals apply to Simplot’s second generation of its Innate line of potatoes. The first generation already is sold in stores under the White Russet label. The company said the latest varities will have less bruising and fewer black spots, enhanced cold-storage capacity and a lower amount of a potentially carcinogenic chemical that is created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. More

UK: McCain commits £100m to ‘decades more’ at Scarborough site

The McCain plantMcCain Foods said it was committing itself to Yorkshire “for decades” after it announced the investment of £100m into its Scarborough plant operation. The food production giant, which has had a base in the Eastfield area of the town for nearly half a century, said the investment was being made to satisfy increasing demand for products and to safeguard jobs. As well as equipment upgrades, the renewal plans include state-of-the-art odour reduction technology, as well as extensive landscaping around the perimeter of the factory. The company will also be implementing renewable technology to further reduce its environmental impact. More

Bientôt une pomme de terre martienne ?

Récolte de pommes de terre aux Etats-Unis.Selon une expérimentation menée au Pérou, le tubercule a réussi à pousser dans des conditions atmosphériques extrêmes, proches de celles de la planète Mars. Des frites en provenance de Mars ? Cela sera peut-être un jour possible puisque le tubercule arrive à pousser dans des conditions atmosphériques semblables à celles de la planète rouge, selon une première expérimentation menée au Pérou« Les résultats préliminaires sont encourageants », a précisé vendredi 10 mars le Centre international de la pomme de terre, après une expérimentation menée entre le 14 février et le 5 mars dans ses installations à Lima. « Si les tubercules peuvent tolérer les conditions extrêmes auxquelles nous les exposons ici, cela offre une bonne opportunité pour qu’elles poussent sur Mars », estime Julio Valdivia Silva, astrobiologiste péruvien lié à l’agence spatiale américaine. Rapport

UK: January potato stocks reach parity with 2016 levels

GB potato stock levels at the end of January were at a similar level to the same point in 2016, despite a four-year low yield, according an AHDB survey of grower stocks. The figure suggests a slowing in drawdown rates between the end of November and January, says AHDB Analyst, Amber Cottingham. The survey result estimated GB potato stock levels at the end of January at 1.9Mt. This is similar to the same point in the season last year and around 350Kt less than at the end of January 2015. November stock levels were tracking ahead of last season suggesting that the drawdown on stocks between the end of November 2016 and the end of January 2017 was 965Kt. This compares to a drawdown of 1,243Kt for the corresponding period last year, a significant drop of 278Kt.  Continue reading

US: NPC asks EPA to keep chlorpyrifos available

Last week National Potato Council and an alliance of organizations wrote to EPA Administrator Pruitt in support of chlorpyrifos. EPA is to decide by month’s end on whether to revoke all tolerances of the insecticide as demanded in a 2007 petition filed by an environmental group. The Agency’s actions thus far seem to ignore established, scientifically sound analysis mandated by statute in order to implement a policy shift on chlorpyrifos. In light of the unprecedented regulatory action that EPA is proposing to undertake and the results it will have, NPC and others asked the EPA to deny the petition, maintain the existing tolerances and complete FIFRA’s registration review process for chlorpyrifos.

US potato exports reach record levels in 2016

For calendar year 2016 total U.S. potato exports were up 4% to $1,726,920,330 – the highest ever value.  The volume of exports also reached a record level of 1,679,236 metric tons up 8% over 2015.  On a fresh weight equivalent basis the volume was up just 1%.  This is due to the fact that dehy exports were down 20% which had a big impact when converted back to the fresh weight equivalent. Frozen exports were up 8% while fresh was up 20% with chips up 3%.  When looking at combined exports of all products Canada was the number one market for the U.S. with growth of 19%.  Japan was number two up 14% while Mexico was still third despite a 5% decline. Attached are the calendar year U.S. potato exports in spreadsheet form and with analysis as a PDF.  For further information on export figures and international markets please go to the Global Database located on the Potatoes USA grower website.

Scotland: Potato producers dig in to cut costs and boost yields

Farmers could make big savings by changing their approach to tilling. Picture: Craig StephenScotland’s tattie growers could save money and improve both their yields and income by reducing bed tillage and the depth of their de-stoning operations, a commercial-scale trial has shown. Putting recent research findings to the test showed that by moving away from a traditional catch-all approach and adopting reduced cultivation techniques growers could save close to £30 a hectare establishing their crop and gain an extra 11 tonnes a hectare of marketable crop after dressing out – all while dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of their operations. Speaking ahead of an Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board potato meeting yesterday, Claire Hodge, the facilitator at Scotland’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm, said that both researchers and growers had been surprised by the financial bonus which adopting this new approach could bring. More

Britain falls out of love with the potato as carb-free diets take hold – but we still can’t get enough crisps

Potato sales have fallen by a fifth in the last ten years – with a recent dive in figures being fuelled by 'carb-free' dietsFor hundreds of years they have been a staple part of almost every British dinner. But it appears that we are finally falling out of love with the potato. Sales have fallen by a fifth in the last ten years – with a recent dive in figures being fuelled by ‘carb-free’ diets. In the last three years alone sales have dropped by almost 7 per cent, according to figures published in the annual Food Report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Despite the fact many are shunning the great British spud in an effort to drop a few pounds, it appears that some potato-based treats just prove far too tempting to ignore as sales of chips and crisps remained steady. More

Kenya: Potato processors contract 23,000 farmers to meet consumer demand

Alice Nyaguthii, who once lived and farmed in the forest but is now a squatter in Kabiruini, Ruturu in Nyeri County plants a tree in a potato farm in Hombe forest.Some 23,000 farmers in 13 potato-producing counties have signed contracts with various processors in Kenya to buy the produce to supply enough food to consumers. Grow Africa’s Leah Kasera said, “Potato processors have committed to purchase 2,650 metric tonnes per month to meet consumer demand and this is expected to streamline the potato value chain to benefit farmers and processors.” She said they want to meet the target of 63,600 tonnes for the next 24 months. Kasera spoke during the first ever Nyandarua Potato Fair held at the Agriculture Training Centre in Oljoro Orok, Nyandarua, at the weekend. According to the National Potato Council of Kenya, Kenya’s potato value chain involves approximately 2.7 million people among them 800,000 smallholder farmers and it contributes to more than Sh50 billion to the economy. More

Around the World in 80 Trades: Mackie’s at Taypack

James Taylor, Commercial Director at Mackie's at TaypackWe found out how a joint venture between potato farmers and an ice cream producer lead to the export of Mackie’s crisps to around 23 countries worldwide in less than a decade… What does your company do? Mackie’s at Taypack produces high quality, premium potato crisps from our farm in Perthshire – we sell these throughout the UK as well as in around 23 countries worldwide. When was your company launched, who by and why? Mackie’s Crisps was founded in 2009 as a joint venture between third generation Perthshire potato farmers, the Taylor family, and Mackie’s of Scotland Ltd, an Aberdeenshire-based family business renowned for their luxury ice cream. Combining the Mackies’ experience in the premium foods sector with the Taylors’ expertise in growing quality potatoes, the company has created a premium range of potato crisps. How long has the company been exporting? Our export activity was first initiated in 2010 – just one year after our business was launched. More

Research update: Latest indicators show potatoes can indeed grow on Mars

The International Potato Center (CIP) launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby prove they are also able to grow in extreme climates on Earth. This Phase Two effort of CIP’s proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began on February 14, 2016 when a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat contained environment built by engineers from University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, based upon designs and advice provided by NASA, California.  Preliminary results are positive. A special potato was placed inside a sealed container that simulates Mars temperature, air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. The results so far are positive; cameras inside the canister show sprouts (see picture above). This is the second phase of the Potatoes on Mars project, which aims to figure out which extreme conditions the hardy tuber can thrive in. If they can grow on Mars, surely they can survive in areas here on Earth that have been devastated by climate change. More

Nieuw aardappelras Louisa op de Belgische rassenlijst

Op de Belgische rassenlijst is één nieuw ras van aardappel opgenomen. Het nieuwe ras Louisa is geschikt voor chips, het vertoont een goede opkomstsnelheid en een vroege bloei. De trage jeugdgroei wordt verklaard door kleine bladeren die goed bestand zijn tegen Phytophthora infestans. De opbrengst in de gewenste calibratiegroep is goed, iets boven het gemiddelde van de standaardrassen. Het onderwatergewicht is ook goed, hoewel iets lager dan het gemiddelde van de standaardrassen en de chipsgeschiktheid is excellent (minder dan 2.5 op een cijferschaal van 0 tot 6).  Zie voor een een overzicht van de resultaten die dit nieuw ras in de officiële proeven behaalde de site van de Vlaamse Overheid. Meer