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Australian shoppers urged to eat smarter and add more potatoes to supermarket trolleys

Australians stockpiling groceries to prepare for COVID-19 are being warned against wasting food by a leading Australian authority. “International experience tells us that food becomes much more valued during these trying times, and in turn everyone should focus on reducing their food waste,” Dr Lapidge said. Potatoes South Australia is launching a five-day social media campaign telling buyers to think about alternatives to emptying supermarket shelves of dry staples like pasta and rice.

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Idaho stores somehow selling out of potatoes

Odd as it may sound, Idaho retailers have been experiencing fresh potato shortages lately, John O’Connell of Post Register reports. Several produce departments throughout the Gem State were sold out of every potato consumer bag and loose spud by Tuesday, as consumers seeking to stock their pantries for the coronavirus outbreak bought foods that store well by the cartload. “It is strange. I didn’t think I’d ever see a shortage, at least at the store level, of potatoes in Idaho,” said Travis Blacker, industry relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission.

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South Koreans are coming to the rescue of the country’s coronavirus-hit potato farmers

Some people outside of South Korea may remember Gangwon province, located some 50 miles from North Korea, as the location of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. To locals, however, the cool and mountainous region is known for its firm, large potatoes that are used to produce delicacies such as dumplings and pancakes. Demand for Gangwon’s famed potatoes, however, came crashing down this year with the coronavirus outbreak.,

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From hunger to profitable harvest: How GMO, CRISPR-edited plants can help curb $220 billion in annual crop losses

Plant diseases arguably pose the biggest threat to agriculture, exacting a dramatic economic toll and endangering the livelihoods of farmers all over the world, writes Steven Cerier in this article published by Genetic Literacy Project (GLP). Scientists in the Netherlands and Ireland have successfully carried out field trials of a disease-resistant genetically engineered potato. The new variety was created through a process of cisgenesis.

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In India’s Assam state, potatoes are grown with no-tillage; growers receive post-harvest training

As farmers look to grow more food for their families and the marketplace, increasing production sustainably remains a consistent challenge. But a CIP project in Assam state in India has discovered an easy way to produce an annual crop of potatoes with no-tillage and very few additional inputs. For the first time in the State, a day-long training of post-harvest management of potato was recently conducted.

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COVID-19: Labour shortage but plenty fruits and vegetables available

The horticultural industry in general relies greatly on international workers and the travel limitations could become a serious issue. “I’ve been on the phone all morning and with this Covid-19 virus and people not being allowed into the country, the farming community in British Columbia [Canada] is in a panic because there’s so many farmers that rely on the arrival of migrant workers from Mexico and Central America.” Also in New Zealand the effects become clear. The situation in Australia is the same.

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No diquat: How to plan potato planting for trouble-free crop desiccation

With the absence of desiccant diquat, British potato producers are being advised to pay careful attention to field layout, nitrogen management and blight control strategy before planting this spring, according to an article published in Farmers Weekly. Machinery manufacturers have reported a big increase in topper sales in recent months, suggesting that many growers and contractors are gearing up for this mechanical approach.

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India: Windfall for Punjab’s potato farmers as crop hits all-time high prices

It’s a happy time for the potato farmers of Punjab, with their crop hitting the highest rate ever known due to low production in other states because of a delayed monsoon last year. Farmers are currently getting Rs 1,600 per quintal for their table crop, which is currently being harvested. For the past four years, they had been getting Rs 300 to Rs 400 per quintal. Traders and stockists of other states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are hoping to get higher prices after purchasing the crop from Punjab.

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Coronavirus in the US: ‘There is plenty of food in the country’

Americans have been alarmed by empty grocery shelves, but while food suppliers and retailers say they are struggling with surging demand, they insist the supply chain remains strong, write four reporters in an article published by the NY Times. The aisles and aisles of empty store shelves give the appearance that the United States, improbably and alarmingly, is running out of food. But the nation’s biggest retailers, dairy farmers and meat producers say that isn’t so.

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Potato news update from Russia

The Potato Union of Russia and the Russian magazine Potato System recently came to an agreement to collaborate in an initiative to inform the commercial potato industry about important industry and government events, promotion of the achievements of agricultural producers, and more. Other news reported by Potato System magazine the past week relates to the problems and prospects of growing potatoes in the Stavropol Territory

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WPC Webinar – Dr. Leah Tsror on powdery scab

The World Potato Congress is extremely pleased to be offering its third webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror. Dr Tsror is a Research Group Leader in the Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development in Israel. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar will be on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.

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Bangladesh: Drive to increase potato exports reaches landmark

A drive to increase the country’s potato exports reached an important landmark on Sunday when a special shipment of potatoes left Bangladesh, destined for Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. Bangladesh produces around 11 million tonnes of potatoes annually but a negligible amount is exported. While internal potato consumption has remained steady, exports have been declining over the past few years, while production has actually been increasing.

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Power of Produce 2020 report: How’s the industry doing on increasing consumption?

The percentage of U.S. consumers who eat fruits and vegetables daily has dropped noticeably in recent years, according to the new Power of Produce report. According to an article by Ashley Nickle, published in Produce Retailer, in 2018, 48% consumers reported eating fruits and/or vegetables just about every day. In 2019, the number dropped to 41%. In the most recent report, the number is 35%.

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The ‘Flight to Vitality’ project: A fresh perspective on potato growth

Neil Budko is an associate professor in the Numerical Analysis Group at TU Delft in the Netherlands. In this article he and his colleagues’ involvement in the “Flight to Vitality” seed potato project is explained in detail. With the Flight to Vitality project, HZPC and Averis Seeds want to jointly develop an objective test with which the vitality of batches of seed potatoes can be measured and predicted.

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Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network elects new president

At the annual meeting of the Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network CPPBN, held on March 4 and 5, 2020 in Guelph Ontario, the group elected Andre Gagnon as President for a 2 year term. “Andre is an active private potato breeder for the past 14 years and has released several varieties, notably the variety “Alliston” which has proven to be outstanding in Ontario,” says Dr Peter VanderZaag, secretary of CPPBN.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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