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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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Belgian fries spared from national coronavirus lockdown

Belgium’s national dish, fried potato sticks that many English speakers refer to as “French fries,” has escaped the country’s near lockdown over coronavirus, with vendors allowed to stay open while all cafes and restaurants have been forced to close. The government ordered schools, bars, gyms and all sporting and cultural activities to close for three weeks from Saturday and curbed shop opening times to limit the spread of the disease.

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Potatoes USA has retailers’ backs with ‘Path to Purchase’ study

Lilian Diep is a trade news writer with AndNowUKnow. She recently wrote in an article: “I’m now privy to a wealth of resources, including Kayla Dome, Global Marketing Manager of Retail for Potatoes USA. I sat down with Kayla to find out how retailers can engage with consumers to capitalize on this staple category and maximize profits.” Below is some of what Lilian found out.

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Research study shows universally positive effect of cover crops on soil microbiome

Only a fraction of conventional row crop farmers grow cover crops after harvest, but a new global analysis from the University of Illinois shows the practice can boost soil microbial abundance by 27%. The result adds to cover crops’ reputation for nitrogen loss reduction, weed suppression, erosion control, and more. Although soil microbial abundance is less easily observed, it is a hugely important metric in estimating soil health.

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Taking a look at storage costings after CIPC

The removal of CIPC next season has pushed the burden onto other tools in the box. However, how cost effective these treatments are at current market prices is a question on many people’s mind. In this article, analysts at AHDB Potatoes in the UK have estimated a total storage cost per tonne for different sprout suppressant regimes over an 8-month period.

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For connoisseurs: 63 different ways to cook a potato

Dear readers, we do not often – if ever really – publish information about recipes and such here on Potato News Today, as our regular followers know. But since it is weekend in most countries in the world where our readers are located, and because of all the many potato recipe related pieces that clutter my information stream daily, this one stands out… So why not? Here goes then…

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The small Dutch town that wants to shape the future of your food

In the low-lying Gelderse Valley some 85km east of Amsterdam, a Dutch university is changing how humans eat, writes Vidhi Doshi in this article published in The Guardian recently. There, a bright-eyed press officer with Willy Wonka flair is showing me the miracles of modern food science. One laboratory door swings open to reveal giant, fragrant basil leaves growing under multicoloured lights. In a greenhouse nearby, thousands of tomatoes are suspended mid-air like plump, levitating Buddhas.

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Potato trade positive in Ireland, demand picking up

Trade remains positive and reports from growers indicate that there is increased demand over the past week, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reported late this week. Although stocks remaining in store in Ireland are similar to last year’s levels, early plantings and harvest were staggered last year, which complimented the season.

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Overview of the global potato market

This past Friday, March 13, FreshPlaza published a report in which trends in the global potato market is discussed. The authors of the report say the potato market in Europe is now clearly divided between north and south. In countries where the coronavirus / Covid-19 is around, the demand is rising, but especially for local products. For example, the demand in Italy has tripled for a short time at the start of the epidemic, and Spanish growers are barely able to keep up with the demand.

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British potato growers advised to be patient and wait for the right conditions to start planting

It has been one of the wettest winters on record in Britain, with many parts of the country suffering damaging floods, says AHDB Potatoes in a recent article. “In wet areas planting may be many weeks away yet. Patience and risk mitigation now, can help prevent poor results come harvest,” says AHDB’s Graham Bannister. The key message is not to panic, waiting a few days and planting in the right conditions is often better than ‘losing’ a couple of days growing time, according to Bannister.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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