PVY-resistant GMO potato variety approved by Argentine authorities

La licencia de uso del evento será de la firma Tecnoplant (subsidiaria del grupo Sidus).Argentine authorities have officially approved the commercialization of a genetically modified PVY-resistant potato variety. The transgenic potato, named TIC-AR233-5, will help growers avoid losses from the virus. The virus can result in yield declines of up to 70%, according to Argentina-based Tecnoplant, which holds the marketing license. The potato will also help growers to use fewer agrochemicals in its cultivation, the company said. The Health and Agri-Food Quality National Service, Senasa, said the product complies with all the necessary requirements, according to La Nación. According to Andrés Murchison, Secretary for Food and Bioeconomy, the new potato could help growers to reduce handling costs and could also boost the quality of the final product. It is expected that regulatory processes for other GMO crops will continue to be optimized in the future, said Murchinson. Read more. Report by Technoplant in Spanish.

‘Protecting Potatoes’: New display in Edinburgh highlights the importance of wild potato varieties

‘Protecting Potatoes’ is a new plant display with interpretation for summer 2018 at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It can be found in the Demonstration Garden and the Temperate Palm House, and has been funded by SEFARI. The aim is to highlight the importance of wild potatoes for the future survival of the domesticated spud. Now, it may not be immediately obvious how wild potatoes can be used to protect what is the fourth most important crop on a global scale. The simple answer is that they have useful genes which can tackle all sorts of threats to the potato crop. This is why research at the Botanics, and in particular at the James Hutton Institute, has focused on the so-called ‘crop wild relatives’ of potato. Working with the James Hutton Institute and SASA, the Botanics assembled a display of eight wild potato species. The display includes numerous forms of the domesticated potato.  Amongst these are some unusual and curious looking traditional varieties from the Andes. Read more

Brazil court rules that licenses for all glyphosate products be suspended

Image result for glyphosate banBrazil’s government is contesting a court suspension of licenses for products with glyphosate, one of the most common industrial weedkillers around the world.  in the capital Brasilia last week ruled that “licenses for all products” with the chemical must be suspended within 30 days. Also in the ban are the chemicals thiram and abamectin. The suspension is to continue until the  sanitary agency completes a “toxicological reevaluation,” the ruling said. Brazil’s government promises to appeal, given the importance of glyphosate to Brazil’s huge agriculture industry, the world’s biggest exporter of soya. “The whole direct planting system is based on glyphosate,” Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi told Valor financial daily on Thursday. Read more. [Note: A federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US to ban glyphosate/Roundup.]

Global Affairs Canada, Mccain support potato variety development in Andean countries

Related imageA marriage of scientific knowledge and traditional practice has led to the development of three highly nutritious, robust, and productive yellow potato varieties in the Andean region. Researchers from Colombia and Canada are working with public and private sector partners to increase production and consumption of this nutritious and all-natural food staple across Colombia and other Andean countries, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. This is a partnership between the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and McGill University in Canada, which developed the improved varieties, with support from private sector organizations, including Campo Vivo (McCain) and others. Malnutrition and iron deficiency are prevalent among many rural Colombians, especially young children. That is expected to change with the introduction of three high quality yellow potato cultivars selected by farmers, breeders and scientists. The initiative will benefit at least 1.5 million consumers.  Continue reading

Key Technology appoints Bret Larreau as Director of Latin America and Asia Sales

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, announces the promotion of Bret Larreau to the position of Director of Latin America and Asia Sales. Larreau is responsible for managing Key’s sales activities in the Latin America, Asia Pacific and Australia/New Zealand regions to bring the company’s digital sorters, vibratory conveyors and other automation systems to food processors and other manufacturers. In addition to managing sales in these regions, Larreau will continue to support Key’s close relationship with PepsiCo’s global business as their Major Account Manager. “This InterContinental region is extremely important to Key – we’ve got a strong foundation with experienced sales and service teams and an impressive installed base of equipment. We are positioned for growth with our best-in-class VERYX® sorters and Iso-Flo® conveyors, since processors in these regions increasingly want sophisticated technologies to improve product quality and food safety as well as yields as they compete globally for business,” said Steve Pellegrino, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Key.  Continue reading

World Potato Congress: Abstract Book now available online

Related imageThe Abstract Book, containing abstracts of presentations delivered in May during the 10th World Potato Congress in Cuzco, Peru has been published online, and can now be downloaded as a pdf file from the World Potato Congress Inc website. In the Preface to the 168 page Abstract Book it is said that the themes “Biodiversity, Food Security and Business” represent what Peru, as the host country and the most important center of origin of the potato, can show and share with the world. In this Congress, Peru and other Latin American countries showcased their great potential from a scientific point of view, where biodiversity, and its relationship with the development of new varieties, nutrition and health, represents a valuable and still unexploited treasure for the world. The Congress also highlighted the great contribution of the different improved and native potato varieties to global food security, the development of pest and disease management technologies, and more. Download the Abstract Book

Spud think tank: Roundup of the World Potato Congress event in Peru

World Potato Congress highlights scientific advances Tubers were the talk of the town in Cusco, Peru during the week of May 27, when the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) and the 28th Congress of the Latin American Potato Association (ALAP) were held together for the first time. The event drew more than 800 participants from 50 countries to the potato’s center of origin for four days of scientific presentations, networking, field trips and celebration of the potato’s cultural and economic importance. The role that potatoes can play in improving the lives and health of the world’s population was a major theme of the gathering. The dozens of presentations at the congress proved that the potato is one of the world’s most diverse crops, with perhaps as much or more undiscovered as known potential. Governments and businesses across the globe view the crop as a way of feeding people nutritionally and affordably, from using resources more efficiently to resisting pest, drought and disease to breeding enhanced health benefits and even the appeal of peel. Cedric Porter, Editor of World Potato Market, wrote a roundup of the research presentations at the Congress in Peru.  Continue reading

Survival test: Gardeners in Newfoundland enlisted to put Chilean potato varieties through the hoops

Assistant manager Jackson McLean holds four red smile potato seeds in E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. in downtown St. John’s. The store is giving away red smile potato seeds to its customers to test.E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. in St Johns Newfoundland and Phytocultures Ltd. based in Prince Edward Island are working together to bring new types of potatoes to Newfoundland and Labrador from Chile in South America. E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. specializes in selling “high-quality vegetable and flower seeds,” according to the company’s website. Recently the store started giving away free samples of Chilean potato varieties (supplied by Phytocultures) to local gardeners who will plant the potatoes and see if they will grow well enough in the rather harsh local conditions. The sample potato seeds soon ran out due to eager demand. The new type of potatoes were developed by plant propagation specialist Don Northcott, who founded Phytocultures in 1986.  Continue reading

‘Good potential market’: British seed potato growers look to Cuba to export

Britain is looked on favourably by the Cuban Government due to its high status and recognitionBritish seed potato producers are considering Cuba as an export destination after recent meetings with government officials in the country. While British producers are technically able to export to Cuba they have not been able to take advantage of this market due to a lack of awareness on how to get products into the country. However, fresh discussions have led to the development of a clear process for exporting product into Cuba. Presently, Cuba currently imports 17,000 tonnes of seed mainly from the Netherlands and France. Canada used to be a supplier but in recent years European sources have been preferred. According to Rob Burns, AHDB Heads of Crops Export, Britain is looked on favourably by the Cuban Government due to a high health status. If growers are interested in nominating crops for Cuban exports they are urged to compile a list to send to SASA by the end of June, and SASA will work with Cuba’s export company Alimport to identify Cuban companies looking for British seed. Read more

Peru’s native potato varieties offer solution to malnourishment and anemia, researchers say

Image result for native peruvian potatoLargely unknown outside of the Andes, the region’s many multi-colored native potato species may aid in preventing malnourishment and cancer, Peruvian researchers told EFE on Wednesday. At their facility in Zurite, in the Andean region of Cuzco, scientists with Peru’s National Institute for Agrarian Innovation (INIA) are doing research on the myriad native potato varieties growing on mountainside terraces built by ancient Peruvian civilizations some 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) above sea level. Their goal is to study the characteristics and benefits of each of the many potato varieties cultivated by the ancient Incas and classify them, as well as to develop new varieties that can be grown on a larger scale. INIA has obtained as many as 26 new potato varieties that possess the characteristics of their native counterparts, including resilience to climate change – due to their high phenol content – and a more appealing shape and size, as well as their “high amounts of calories and proteins.”  Continue reading

Elevated: How potatoes went from mountaintops to the moon

Chuños, naturally freeze-dried potatoesThe process of freeze drying is easily associated with the space age, thanks to its use in making astronaut food, but it’s older than you might think. The first known use of it dates back to the Incas, who were able to naturally freeze dry their food on mountaintops thanks to cold temperatures and thin air. Potatoes were stomped daily to get the moisture out, and sublimation took care of the rest, making for lighter, more lasting food called chuños (which is still made today). This process allowed Incas to store up food for droughts, and Spaniards to try “fresh” potatoes in Europe. Though freeze drying isn’t as widely used today, NASA has managed to take the process to greater heights than even the Incas by using the technique for astronaut food. That’s because freeze-drying preserves the structure of food, as well as its vitamins and minerals. It may not be exactly the same as a fresh potato, but as anyone who’s sampled astronaut ice cream can attest to, it still tastes pretty good. Read more

Noteworthy: Potatoes the source of innovation boom in Peru

According to the executive director of Cite Papa and other Andean Crops, Celfia Obregon Ramirez, potatoes have stopped being just an agricultural crop and have become a great source of innovation in Peru – which has the greatest diversity of potatoes in the world and, thus, infinite possibilities to innovate. Peruvian exquisite colored chips continue to surprise the world because they are very exotic, she added, but young Peruvian entrepreneurs have already created other products that may be attractive for the international market, such as the 14 Inkas potato vodka, the first of its kind made with native potatoes. CITE Papa, in alliance with the University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA), obtained the formula to produce beer from potatoes and it is currently looking for a local manufacturer that wants to develop the product commercially, she stated. (Source: FreshPlaza)

Come eat me: Some potato varieties yield more when grazed by pests

When some Colombian potato varieties are lightly grazed by a pest, the plants respond by growing larger tubers, at times doubling their yields. Although many types of plants can repair pest damage while maintaining productivity, it’s rare to find species that actually overcompensate and increase productivity. Cornell and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia researchers first discovered this effect in a commercial Colombian potato in 2010. Now, a new study by the research group investigates whether certain conditions might allow farmers to exploit this response to reduce insecticides and increase productivity. “The option of increasing productivity based on the compensatory plant response could open the door to a decrease in insecticide use. It could be a sustainable way to produce food based on a plant’s natural response to herbivory,” said Katja Poveda, assistant professor of entomology and the paper’s lead author.  Continue reading

World Potato Congress: Potato experts from around the world gather in Peru

More than 800 potato scientists, industry representatives, government officials and other interested parties from 50 countries have gathered in the Andean city of Cusco, Peru for the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) and the 28th Congress of the Latin American Potato Association (ALAP), held from May 27 to 31. The event, which included ample participation by scientists from the International Potato Center (CIP), has raised the potato’s profile in Peru and beyond by highlighting the crop’s rich biodiversity and its potential for reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty. The WPC is the most important international event for potato science and business, held in a different country every three years. Researchers and business representatives participating in WPC 2018 and the ALAP Congress have had the opportunity to participate in technical sessions on an array of innovations that include potato variety development and biotechnology, improved pest and disease management, crop management and the importance of potato biodiversity for breeding and nutrition. Read further

Trade breakthrough: US seed and fresh potatoes can now be exported to Guatemala

U.S. fresh and seed potatoes from all U.S. states are now permitted entry into Guatemala, a welcome expansion of market access from only one permitted state four years ago. On May 14, 2018, the USDA confirmed simplified phytosanitary certificate requirements that eliminate previous state-by-state limitations. Potatoes USA worked closely with the USDA to fully open Guatemala to U.S. table-, chip- and seed-stock potatoes. The small Central American country is a target market for Potatoes USA promotion programs. Potatoes USA hosted a Guatemalan plant health official in 2017 to attend the International Seed Symposium. In 2017, Guatemala imported over 24,000 metric tons of U.S. potatoes and potato products, valued at $27.5 million, making it the U.S. potato industry’s 13th-largest market globally. (Source: Potatogrower)