Peruvian potato producers: ‘We have no money to buy seed, to plant potatoes, or to buy fertilizer’

Related imagePotato producers in Peru are threatening to go on an indefinite strike starting April 23 because the government has not complied with the agreements reached at the beginning of February. “We want to be heard [by the government] before going on strike. We are here (in Congress) to ask the new Minister of Agriculture to meet with us so that we can solve this problem,” said Victor Vega Supo, the head of the National Agrarian Coordinators, during a press conference held by the National Convention of Peruvian Agriculture in Congress. “We have no money to buy seeds, to plant potatoes, or to buy fertilizers. We are undercapitalized and have no support. How are we going to guarantee people food if we have no money to produce it?” 90% of potato producers have run out of working capital, he said. (Source: FreshPlaza)

UK: AHDB’s Potatoes and Cereals Knowledge Exchange teams join forces

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has taken a significant step to improve its offering and better support farm businesses in the arable sector. AHDB’s Cereals and Oilseeds and its Potatoes Knowledge Exchange (KE) Teams will unite this month to create a single Arable Team – bringing together a wider range of expertise for the industry. As a result, four new roles have been created, taking the headcount in arable knowledge exchange from 20 to 24. Rob Clayton, AHDB Strategy Director for Potatoes, said: “Our Knowledge Exchange Teams exist to help farming business in the UK to become more profitable and resilient. This can be achieved by adopting the latest technical and scientific advances and good growing and production practices. Our analysis to date points to a relatively positive post-Brexit picture for potatoes. But taking advantage of this depends on strong links between researchers, agronomists and growers.” More


‘What are you eating?’ Potatoes, of course!

Related imagePotatoes USA announced a new consumer marketing campaign at their Annual Meeting in Denver last week. The “What Are You Eating?” campaign is designed to encourage athletes to use potatoes as fuel for athletic performance. The campaign is designed to re-frame potato nutrition messaging from providing reasons why it is okay to eat potatoes to providing the reasons why you should eat potatoes for optimal athletic performance. Through a process of reviewing and analyzing potato characteristics and their implications, Athletic Performance was identified as the single-minded, lifestyle-oriented potato benefit that could best serve to strengthen the industry’s position in the marketplace. Talking to athletes represents a huge opportunity for the potato industry, 16% of the population or 30 million people exercise at least 2 times per week and participate in competitive events.  Continue reading

Video: Highlights of the ‘2018 Potato D.C. Fly-In’ event hosted in Washington

Image result for 2018 Potato D.C. Fly-In national potato councilDuring February 26 – March 1, potato growers and industry partners took part in the annual Potato D.C. Fly-In event in a push to make a difference on issues affecting the potato industry. The Potato D.C. Fly-In is aimed at advocating for the industry in the center of the action, the nation’s Capital. The Fly-In features speakers from the political and policy arenas who address key issues facing the potato industry. More than a hundred participants met face-to-face during the 2018 Fly-In with members of Congress and key staff to communicate industry priorities, and to convey real-life farming practices to influential administration officials and regulators on Capitol Hill. John Keeling, executive Vice President and CEO of the National Potato Council that hosted the event, said delegates addressed pressing issues such as trucking shortages, research matters, and trade – in particular the current NAFTA trade negotiations. Watch video summary 

‘Global potato demand up, US market share for frozen products down,’ says CEO

Image result for potatoes usaWorldwide consumption of potatoes is increasing, according to Blair Richardson, chief executive officer of Potatoes USA. “We’re seeing a reversal of the downward trend in global potato-product sales that we’ve been in since the 1970s,” Richardson related during a recent meeting of Wisconsin potato growers. “Not only are we seeing positive growth at the retail level, we’re also seeing significant increases in the food-service sector,” he said. “This year, for the first time ever, food-service sales will exceed retail sales.” Only about 10 percent of Americans love to cook anymore, he reported. “We love looking at food and we love eating but we just want somebody else to do the cooking. That’s why people are switching back to potatoes and why the demand for potatoes is increasing,” he said. “If you’re depending on other people to cook part, or all, of your meals, we fit well in all the cuisines that people are interested in.” Critical challenges, however, remain for the U.S. potato industry., including losing global market share in frozen potato products. More

UK: AHDB looking to expand Knowledge Exhange team

AHDB is expanding its arable team and has created new Knowledge Exchange (KE) and Knowledge Transfer (KT) roles. If you are passionate about arable farming and would enjoy working with potato growers and the supply chain to ensure useful information is receieved by those who need it, then AHDB would love to hear from you. There are four roles advertised – two regionally based KE managers (based from either Stoneleigh, Taunton, York or Huntingdon) and two KT roles based at the AHDB Head Office at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Check them out here:

US potato industry has a lot to lose if NAFTA scrapped, says Potato Council CEO

Idaho and potatoes are synonymous for good reason; the Gem State is the nation’s biggest producer of the vegetable. With the fate of NAFTA unknown as negotiators head into an eighth round of talks, the potato industry is monitoring those talks closely. Maintaining free trade in North America is crucial, says John Keeling, the CEO of the National Potato Council in Washington, D.C. “Right now we have duty-free access to Mexico for potato and potato products,” he says. “Keeping that access is critically important. If we were to lose that duty-free access, and, say Mexico continued a deal with Canada, we could face a 20 percent tariff differential.” Potatoes are a $1.2 billion industry in Idaho and provide thousands of jobs. Beyond farms, there are companies like Simplot and Lamb Weston that process the spuds. Keeling says his organization – and much of the agriculture sector – has a motto when it comes to NAFTA: “Do no harm.” More

Idaho Potato Commission launches new video series: Idaho Potato Life Hacks

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) has partnered with Ivan Nanney, former member of the Big Idaho® Potato Truck’s Tater Team and’s newest Cancun Experience Officer, to create a series of Idaho® Potato Life Hack videos showcasing the many uses of Idaho® potatoes beyond a recipe ingredient. These DIY (Do It Yourself) tater tricks use Idaho® potatoes to increase efficiency, safety, and creativity in everyday life. “Although Idaho® potatoes are one of America’s favorite vegetables, a lot of people aren’t aware of just how multifunctional spuds can be,” says Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC. “So whenever you’re in a pinch, there’s a good chance an Idaho® potato can help. We like to call them ‘delicious and functional’.” Here are six Idaho® Potato Life Hacks that can make your life a little easier,  a few more ways Idaho® potatoes can help… More. And watch all the Idaho® Potato Life Hacks videos

UK: New Knowledge and Innovation Facilitator to help address potato storage challenges

Laura Bouvet has been appointed Knowledge and Innovation Facilitator for Agri-Tech East and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB); the first time the two organisations have collaborated in this way. As part of the new jointly funded role, Laura will support a number of innovation projects with growers – drawing on her extensive knowledge of plant pathology, genomics and advanced breeding. Her knowledge will be highly beneficial for her work with AHDB, which will focus on its Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR) facility, which provides controlled environment facilities for research into optimum crop storage conditions. Sprout suppression in potatoes is an area of particular interest for growers. Dr Rob Clayton, AHDB Strategy Director for Potatoes, says: “This is a crucial time for Laura Bouvet to join the SBCSR team to help address the immediate challenges facing our growers and store managers. “We already know some of our stores use three times more energy than others and it’s compromising productivity and an individual’s bottom line.” More

New World Bank book on Peruvian agriculture highlights native potato value chains

A book on Peruvian agriculture recently published by the World Bank highlights the dynamism of the sector and its impressive growth in the past decade. However, closer analysis shows how the vast majority of smallholders in the Andean highlands and Amazon have seen little progress. Yet there is some good news for Andean farmers, since a growing number have been able to access better-paying markets for native potato varieties thanks to years of work by the International Potato Center (CIP) and partners. The highlands, where potato is the principal crop of more than 80% of farmers, have higher levels of poverty and malnutrition than the national average. CIP coordinated the Papa Andina Program that brought together public institutions, businesses and NGOs in Peru in a project called INCOPA, in order to tap the potential of the country’s approximately 3,000 potato varieties for reducing rural poverty. Sales of native potatoes increased by more than 70% and prices for them increased 150%. The total value of native potato exports rose from US$821,000 in 2010 to US$2.5 million in 2015, mostly from packaged snacks. More

Still on top: Another record year for the Belgian potato processing industry

Image result for belgapomThe record year of 2016 for the Belgian potato processing industry continued into 2017, according to Belgapom, the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association. In a press release issued today, it is noted that the Belgian potato industry developed into one of the fastest growing sectors in the Belgian food industry during the past few years. Partly thanks to the significant investment in capacity and quality, this trend continued in 2017. According to the Belgapom press release, Belgium was “by far the largest exporter of frozen potatoes in the world in 2017 with 2.2 million tonnes.” Last year a total of 4.57 million tonnes of potatoes (+ 3.6 %) were processed into fries, crisps, croquettes, flakes, granules and other potato products.  Continue reading

Potatoes on the right track as performance food

Image result for potatoes performance foodA year ago, Potatoes USA members started a new campaign to market potatoes as a performance food. A year later, they confirmed that’s the right track. “We did research on what works and what doesn’t work,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA, March 14 at the group’s annual meeting in Denver. “Potatoes as a performance vegetable is something we can achieve. We’re asking people what they’re eating when they perform, and if they’re eating potatoes, that’s what we’re trying to create.” The consumer marketing campaign encourages active people to be their best and beat their best, and potatoes are the fuel for that. “We can all customize this program,” Richardson said. “If we all get behind it, we can change the perception of potatoes.” Director of marketing programs Kim Breshears said the industry needs to move potatoes from “You can eat potatoes” to “You should eat potatoes.” More

‘Potatoes are on an upward trajectory,’ says Potatoes USA

potusa 1 webThere are consumers who love potatoes, and Potatoes USA’s fiscal year 2019 will target them. That’s not to say potatoes aren’t popular among all consumers. Board leaders showed how potatoes are consumers’ favorite vegetable, and that’s reflected in the board’s mission statement: Strengthen demand of USA Potatoes. At the USA Potatoes annual meeting March 12-15 in Denver, the board started with a review of its domestic marketing plans. It approved FY19 domestic marketing investments of $4.86 million for the July to June fiscal year. The primary domestic strategies for the board are to inspire potato innovation across all channels, promote potatoes as performance food, cultivate strategic partnerships and advocate for scientific research to show potatoes’ role in enhancing physical and mental performance. John Toaspern, chief marketing officer, said potatoes are on an upward trajectory, which is a nice trend after some flat recent years. More

West Australia’s potato farmers pin hopes on negative psyllid tests to regain market access

Related imagePotato farmers in West Australia (WA) could see Eastern States’ markets reopen in the near future which are still closed to WA following the tomato potato psyllid outbreak last year. Potato Growers Association of WA chief executive officer Simon Moltoni said the potato industry and State Government were working through the Transition to Management Plan, with the aim to reopen market access. “We still haven’t regained market access to the East coast,” Mr Moltoni said. “That’s been a major issue to our growers. During spring the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development undertook testing of psyllids, looking for the bacteria, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which causes the damage to the crops. Mr Moltoni said those tests came back negative and if the autumn round of testing this March returned the same result, discussions could begin to reopen interstate markets. More

Sheltered: Limited impact on potatoes in British stores following cold spell, report says

Related imageThe latest Potato Weekly report issued by AHDB Potatoes has been published earlier today, and the full report can be accessed on the AHDB website. In the report growers are reminded to take note of the upcoming Strategic Potato Farm event in East Yorks next week. It is noted that potato stores have done their job the past week and quality is generally reported to be holding up well after last week’s cold spell. Produce in ambient stores not reporting any major issues. There were some reports of breakdown in Melody and Ramos in the West and East respectively and some early sprouting in the South. There is a risk that produce in transit for export may have suffered from the cold, but it is too early to tell and more information will become available when it comes off the boats. Movement has recovered after the weather disruption last week with plentiful available supplies in stores. Trade in Scotland was challenging this week with snow preventing some deliveries, particularly in the east. The market itself remains flat, although M Piper was reportedly moving well. Exports to the Canaries were reportedly steady this week. Read the full Potato Weekly report