Tanzania has excelled in experimental trials of high yielding and disease resistant potato varieties under a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) programme of the FAO aimed to improve food security in the country. Three of 14 varieties brought into the country by the International Potato Centre (CIP) for field trials did well and two of them will soon be released. Two of these are Unica, locally known as Mkanano (and known as ‘Qingshu 9’ in China); and Shangii, which will be released to farmers for cultivation after proving resilience to climate vagaries. The third variety, Mvono, is now with the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute for national performance trials. “Mvono is being tested for the first time in the world. Its first field trials are taking place in Tanzania”, said Dr Stephano Sebastian, the principal agricultural research officer with HORTI-Tengeru. Experimental trials and promotion of potato is one of the projects implemented within the East African region under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) research programme on climate change, agriculture and food security. More
Two Kingston University graduates in the UK have created an environmentally friendly, sustainable and biodegradable alternative to medium-density fibreboard (MDF), and the product was produced from potato peelings. Graduates Rob Nicol and Rowan Minkley are the team behind Chip[s] Board® – a potato-based product turning food waste material from restaurants into a robust ready-to-use chipboard-like sheet. “Unlike its resin based counterparts, Chip[s] Board® is biodegradable post-use and doesn’t contain formaldehyde or any other toxic resins and chemicals”, according to a dedicated website for the product. The environmentally friendly product is strong enough to construct temporary structures designed to last more than a month. “We have some samples that are over a year old now – It lasts as a material without degrading,” Rowan explained. More
For decades, potatoes have been branded unhealthy and we have been advised to avoid consuming too many of them. But now, researchers say that consuming the popular tuber is actually good for you. In fact, they claim that you could eat potatoes, and nothing else, for the rest of your life and ‘remain pretty healthy‘. In a medical U-turn, scientists who reviewed a host of evidence are pushing for potatoes to be reassessed for their ‘clear’ health benefits. They have uncovered evidence in a 60-page report that the humble crop could slash the risk of having a heart attack and may even protect against dementia. Professor Derek Stewart, from the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, and co-author of the report said: “The studies we looked at found a whole raft of different benefits. If you have to live the rest of your life on just one thing, you could do it on potatoes and remain pretty healthy. There are not many crops you can say that about. …Other research has found a strong association with enhanced cognitive function in the elderly if they’re eating potatoes.” The full report can be downloaded as a pdf file. Or go to this page and follow the appropriate link.
Scottish seed potatoes sent to Kenya have performed strongly on three trial sites, AHDB has revealed. The farm levy organisation has been working with Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) to open the Kenyan market for GB seed potatoes since a bilateral agreement was signed by the Scottish and Kenyan governments in 2016. Well-known British varieties were exported to Kenya and planted on three different farms to assess the yield and quality of each. Cara had the strongest performance with average yields across all three farms at more than 20 tonnes per acre. AHDB said the yields were similar to those achieved in Britain, but much higher than those normally achieved by farmers in Kenya who typically experience yields of around 4tonnes per acre. This is blamed on the fact that 95% of farmers in the country use poor quality home-saved seed, rather than high-quality imported seed. More
In a new study published in the American Journal of Potato Research on potato black dot disease, entitled “Potato Black Dot – The Elusive Pathogen, Disease Development and Management“, scientists Dennis A. Johnson, Brad Geary and Leah (Lahkim) Tsror say black dot caused by Colletotrichum coccodes was initially considered a mild disease of potato, mainly infecting weakened plants. In the past two decades however, the fungus has been reported to infect roots and stems relatively early in the growing season, be prevalent on potato and in field soil in major potato production regions of the world, cause early death of foliage by itself and in association with other pathogens, reduce plant and root growth, and to reduce potato yields, as well as causing unsightly blemishes on tubers. The scope of this research paper is to define our current understanding on the disease and summarize disease management strategies. An abstract of the study and instructions to obtain the full paper can be found here.
The 2018 Ontario Potato Conference & Trade Show in Canada will be held on March 6 at the Delta Hotel and Conference Center in Guelph. Several topics related to potato production issues important to growers will be on the agenda, and attendees will be addressed by several experts in Canada, the US as well as the United Kingdom. Some of the topics include seed performance, late blight fungicides, latest on blackleg research, common scab control, Zebra chip, and Dicamba drift ( said to be a new danger for potato growers). The full programme is available on this page, and online registration can be completed here. Further information is available from conference organizer, Dr Eugenia Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org
This free webinar with Scott Stuntz, managing editor of Spudman magazine, features YARA’s potato crop manager in North America, Jimmy Ridgway, and the director of agronomic services at YARA in North America, Dr. Steve Petrie. Petrie and Ridgway share insights from extensive crop nutrition research and trials done over the years by YARA. They also discuss technology, tools and services to provide growers with practical guidelines related to potato crop nutrition. Just access this page in your browser and then complete a simple registration form to join the hour long presentation on ReadyTalk.
Leading potato supplier, Albert Bartlett, is enjoying significant environmental savings within its supply chain thanks to the use of Chep’s pooled pallets. The Scottish potato company supplies own label and branded lines of potatoes to retail, wholesale, food service and processing customers, and recently signed a three-year contract renewal with Chep, an international company dealing in pallet and container pooling services. Russell White, Head of Operations, said: “The savings that we’re able to realise through the use of Chep’s pooling model are fantastic. It feels like we are making a real difference, working together to minimise the impact our supply chain is having on the environment.” Chep UK & Ireland Managing Director Helen Lane: “Environmental sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Chep. 100% of our timber now comes from forests certified as sustainable. Our pallets are continually repaired, reused and shared, and because they are made to a higher standard than white wood pallets, they last up to 10-times longer.” More
Florimond Desprez, the general director of potato seed and breeding company Germicopa, expects that the company’s seed sales will grow in the near future to reach 80,000 tonnes by 2020/21, up from 63,000 tonnes last year. Germicopa is established in Bretagne, France and part of the Florimond Desprez Group. According to Florimond Desprez, “Traditionally, Germicopa focused on salad potatoes. Examples of this are Charlotte, Chérie and Amandine. Now we are also turning to other markets and developing potato varieties not only for the fresh market but also for industrial processing. Daisy is used to make French fries and Amyla is well developed on the starch market, notably in France where it is the number one variety.” During the Fruit Logistica, Germicopa put their organic varieties in the spotlight. Germicopa seed potatoes are produced by its own network of producers (c.180 growers in France). The company markets seed in 70 countries. More
Agrico was exhibiting at Fruit Logistica in Berlin from Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 February 2018. During this leading international trade fair, Agrico, together with its subsidiaries, showed its future orientated growth power. Many years of intensive breeding efforts have resulted in Agrico being the first company to offer a complete package of phytophthora resistant varieties, the company says in a press release. In addition to their extremely high resistance to late blight these varieties offer outstanding consumption traits and good yields. This package allows Agrico to offer its customers a sustainable and diverse range with a variety of flavours, appearances and processing options. The package of varieties with high phytophthora resistance consists of Carolus, Alouette, Twinner, Twister, the recently introduced variety Levante and the new starch variety Nofy. Press release
The Indonesian market beckons for Australian seed potato farmers, after market access to the South East Asian nation was extended today (16 February Indonesian/Australian time). The deal paves the way for suppliers from Victoria and South Australia to commence trade immediately. “This is a fantastic result for farmers in these two states — as major seed potato producers — and builds on current seed potato access for Western Australia,” explained Australian minister for agriculture and water resources, David Littleproud. “The export protocol has been on the boil for a while and today we finally got it over the line – this will take an industry with a current production value of A$520.3m, to new heights.” (Source: Fruitnet)
On 6 February, the German Potato Trade Association welcomed around 500 guests from 16 countries to the traditional International Berlin Potato Evening. In his opening speech, DKHV President Thomas Herkenrath called for more attention to discussions on food and agriculture. “Potatoes are an important staple food and can best meet the high ethical demands of consumers and their desire for a healthy diet in cultivation, processing and distribution. The potato industry only has to present itself more self-confidently to the public in order to be perceived more positively by the consumer. This means listening carefully and analyzing the worries, fears and needs of our customers.” The new President of the World Potato Congress, Romain Cools, also addressed attendees. More