US: Impact of CIPC use under review by the EPA

Image result for cipc potato sprout inhibitorAs a part of a Registration Review process, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US is reviewing the data associated with the use of Chlorpropham (CIPC) – the major sprout inhibitor used in the potato industry. The Task Force representing the companies that manufacture and sell CIPC are actively working with EPA to provide any additional data to support the continued registration of this important compound. The output of the models used by EPA to evaluate any potential impacts of the use of CIPC on applicators, the environment or human health, depends on the accuracy of the assumptions about use patterns. EPA initially assumed that 100 per cent of the crop is treated. The National Potato Council (NPC) provided comments that questioned that assumption. Based on the percentage of the crop used for seed and that used directly from the field after harvest, NPC estimated that between 55 and 65 percent of the potato crop is treated with CIPC. These comments encouraged EPA to use that estimate, or per cent crop treated, as they evaluated the use of CIPC. (Source: National Potato Council)

Facebook reach increases 630 percent for Colorado Potatoes

Image result for colorado potatoesA huge bump in Facebook likes for Colorado Potatoes during the 2017 calendar year has reinforced CP’s commitment to the social media giant for reaching current consumers and engaging new ones as well. According to Marketing Administrative Assistant Savannah Schlaufman of Colorado Potatoes, which is the marketing arm of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, consumer reach through Facebook has been exponential, and Pinterest is growing as well. “Facebook is by far our largest social media platform and has the most engagement,” Schlaufman said in mid-January. “It also continues to grow. We started 2016 with 298 page likes and ended 2017 with 2,176, so we saw a 630 percent increase on this one platform.” More

NFU Potato Forum wants to improve relations in British fresh produce sector

Protecting potatoesThe potato supply chain, with its numerous stages on the journey from seed via processing to final customer, has not always been the most transparent. With relations between growers and processors occasionally strained, the sector has found it harder than most to build up trust and confidence throughout the chain. To address the problem, the NFU Potato Forum last month published a report, entitled Bridging the Gap, which looked at how relations can be improved in what is a vital area of the British fresh produce sector. The Potato Forum wrote to over 30 packers and processors to highlight concerns over collaboration and communication, following this up with face-to-face meetings. “The discussions were very constructive and we’ve been pleased with the positive way many packers and processors have engaged with the NFU on this subject,” says Potato Forum chairman Alex Godfrey. More

Europatat Congress 2018 registrations now open

Europatat CongressEuropatat, the European Potato Trade Association, confirms the dates for the upcoming annual Europatat Congress are May 3-4. Registrations for the event taking place in Brussels (Belgium) are now open. Under the slogan “Potatoes: a healthy, sustainable and responsible sector”, the congress will focus on the many assets of the sector in both political and technical key areas of health, sustainability and responsibility of the business. The congress will bring together key decision makers in the European potato sector. Participants will have the chance to review the different activities of Europatat during the meetings of the various Europatat Commissions (early potatoes, ware potatoes, and packers on the one hand, and seed potatoes, technical and regulatory issues, and RUCIP on the other). Visit the official congress website for more information on the programme and for registrations.

10th World Potato Congress a tribute to Peru, the origin of modern-day potatoes

 A farmer picks potatoes on community land in the high Andean region of Huancavelica, the area of Peru with the most native varieties of potatoes. Credit: Mariela Jara / IPSPotatoes were first taken out of Peru, their Andean region of origin, 458 years ago and introduced to the rest of the world, and then went on to feed the world, according to a news report by the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency. Half a millennium later, potatoes have spread throughout the planet but there are challenges to preserve the crop’s biodiversity as a source of food security, as well as the rights of the peasants who sustain this legacy for humanity in Peru. The hosting of the 10th World Potato Congress between May 27 and 31 in the ancient city of Cuzco, the centre of what was the Inca empire in the south of the Peruvian Andes, is a recognition of Peru as the main source of potatoes. Peru maintains the largest amount of potato germplasm in the world, and great commercial potential.  Continue reading

US: Industry cooperation key to progress, potato growers told

Image result for National Potato Council Executive Vice President and CEO John KeelingThe potato industry has had better luck recently in securing federal research dollars due to improved cooperation among its national and state organizations, three industry leaders said Jan. 17 during the Eastern Idaho Potato Conference. The speakers included National Potato Council Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling; Pat Kole, the Idaho Potato Commission’s vice president of legal and government affairs; and Ryan Krabill, director of research with Potatoes USA. Keeling said individual states previously approached lawmakers and submitted research requests based on their own interests. Now, leaders nationwide are reaping the rewards of focusing on what’s best for the industry as a whole, he said. In recent years, Kole said the potato commissions of Idaho, Washington and Oregon have pooled $1.5 million annually to conduct coordinated research through the new Northwest Potato Research Consortium. More

Potatoes USA now largest commodity backer of national school salad bar campaign

Image result for salad bars to schoolsThis week, Potatoes USA announced the latest part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign, which donates salad bars to school districts in need. The campaign, launched via the United Fresh Start Foundation, has found a major backer in Potatoes USA, which has become the biggest individual commodity donor to the program, donating more than 280 salad bars so far. Over the next 21 weeks, the group will donate salad bars to one school district per week – offering an opportunity to encourage more healthy eating of fruits and vegetables in schools. Potatoes USA Global Marketing Manager Rachael Lynch says that potatoes are often a key beneficiary of the salad bars. “I’ve seen operators use salad bars as creative topping bars for fresh baked potatoes, yogurt and so much more,” she said in a news releaseContinue reading

European Potato Trade Association welcomes new Communication & Policy Advisor

Image result for Berta Redondo benitoThe European Potato Trade Association (Europatat) is pleased to announce the appointment of Berta Redondo Benito as the new Communication & Policy Advisor of the association, with effect as of 8th of January. Mrs Berta Redondo (27) is an enthusiastic and creative communication professional specialised in European agricultural policies. She holds a Journalism Degree from the University of Valladolid in Spain, where she is originally from, and she has a strong work experience in radio and European communications related with agricultural topics. In this position, Mrs Redondo will take care of the internal and external communications, media relations and visual identity of Europatat. Together with the Secretary General she will also support the association’s public affairs and policy objectives.  Continue reading

Potatoes USA Seed Export Program underway for 2018

Image result for potatoes usaEfforts are underway to plant field trials of U.S. seed varieties in Myanmar, Morocco and Guatemala in early 2018.  Potatoes USA purchases U.S. seed potatoes from U.S. growers in multiple states to provide up to a dozen different varieties to each target market which are suitable for their warm climates and have high resistance to common potato diseases. Funding for these trials is primarily from USDA grants to promote U.S. agricultural exports to emerging markets. The first of the three shipments arrived in Myanmar in early December and will be planted during the second half of January 2018 in the main potato growing area of the Shan State.  Continue reading

World Potato Congress announces Romain Cools as new President and CEO

World Potato Congress Inc. announces Mr. Romain Cools as new President and CEO, as David Thompson steps down from this position. After 17 years on the World Potato Congress Board of Directors, 12 as vice-president and the last five years as president, David Thompson has decided that it was time for a change. He is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2018 he is stepping down as President and CEO of the World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc., however he will remain on the board of directors. David Thompson says: “Romain Cools has been involved with the Board of Directors since 2006 and for the past three years, he has served as Vice President of the World Potato Congress Inc.  Mr. Cools resides in Lokeren, Belgium and is the first European President of the WPC Inc. Mr. Cools brings with him 26 years of knowledge of the potato industry and has demonstrated a strong commitment to the advancement and sustainability of the potato in the global environment. “ Continue reading

McCain company executive makes predictions for future of potato industry

Ghislain PelletierWhile he maintains there will be a market for potatoes well into the future, Ghislain Pelletier predicts the future of the industry will bear little resemblance to the past. The global vice-president for agronomy for McCain Foods was one of the keynote speakers at the recent annual meeting of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board in Canada. He noted potatoes are a highly productive crop that can be grown in a number of climates. They are also one of the most healthy, offering more nutrition value than crops like rice when compared on a per acre basis. “The demand for potatoes will grow in developing countries,” he predicted. “The size of the global potato consumption pie will grow but the producer’s share will change.” The McCain executive also sees China and India becoming bigger players in the industry, predicting both countries will significantly increase their productivity and quality in the next decade. He noted both countries are improving their production practices with better seed and equipment. “New technology will continue to accelerate with trends like novel breeding,” he said. More

UK: NFU calls for better communication in potato sector

NFU calls for better communication in potato sectorPotato packers and processors can drive the sector forward by communicating better with growers about how they can improve their crop, according to a new report by the NFU. Following a series of meetings with the industry, the study highlights producers’ desire for clearer information to allow them, and the whole industry, to become more competitive and productive. Earlier this year, the NFU highlighted the need for greater transparency in the potato industry, after growers reported significant payment deductions with little or no explanation. NFU potato forum chairman Alex Godfrey said: “In order for all parts of the industry to become more efficient, competitive and profitable, growers need to know where they can improve their crop. But Godfrey stressed there was “work for growers too”, saying most packers and processors “would like to see growers visit their facilities more often”. More