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Canada’s potato storage holdings as of June 1 were down 14.4 per cent — or just over 2.8 million hundredweight — from the year before, according to figures from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Kevin MacIsaac, UPGC general manager, says it’s the result of good demand in the fresh, chip and french fry categories in recent months. “The market has been active,” he says. “It has helped move the pile…

Seed potatoes go to waste due to trade restrictions

The repercussions of the tomato potato psyllid outbreak are taking shape in Western Australia (WA), with seed potato growers starting to feed hundreds of tonnes of perfectly good produce to their cattle. With exports of WA potatoes and tomatoes still ground to a halt, and a fully supplied local market, seed potato producers have no home for their produce. It has forced many growers, such as Albany’s Trevor Barker, to dump their…

McCain Foods USA Announces Expansion of Burley, Idaho Facility

McCain Foods USA will expand its production capacity for frozen french fries in North America. The location of the expansion is McCain’s current plant in Burley, Idaho where it has been doing business for 20 years.  Capital investments to support the expansion total more than USD$200 million to expand its state-of-the-art production facility.  With the expansion, McCain expects to create more than 180 new positions in Burley directly. McCain officials said in…

Worst Japan harvest in 34 years bites snack makers’ shares

Japan’s potato chip lovers, beware: Your favorite snacks may become harder to find. The country’s worst potato harvest in at least 34 years has prompted major snack makers to halt production of several types of snacks. The news hit share prices on Tuesday of Calbee Inc, which makes about half of Japan’s potato snacks including “Consonme Punch,” and Koike-ya Inc, both of which tumbled to two-month lows. Bad weather is the main…

Potato supplier HZPC charged by South African Competition Commission

South Africa’s Competition Commission has referred a Netherlands-based seed potato breeder and its exclusive South African distributor to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution, for abuse of dominance in relation to the exclusive supply of Mondial seed potatoes varietal in the country. Wesgro Potatoes, a potato seed grower in South Africa, has an exclusive agreement with HZPC Holland to sell the Mondial seed potato varietal to commercial farmers. In turn, commercial farmers grow…

Trade Agreements and Potato Markets

It is hoped that when it is ratified, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will open new export markets for Canadian potatoes. But when U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withdraw from the trade agreement in January, it put negotiation among the remaining 11 nations in flux. Before we go into what might happen, let’s look at the current potato export “lay of the land” among the nations involved. According to…

Canadian potato storage holdings down

TOTAL POTATO storage holdings in Canada were down eight per cent on Feb. 1 from a year previously, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Storage holdings were down in every province except for British Columbia, where holdings were up substantially at 24 per cent. Kevin MacIsaac, UPGC general manager, says an exceptional 2016 crop in B.C. meant more potatoes than usual were put in storage following harvest. Of those…

Market News

AFTER TWO years of record-breaking yields for potato production in Canada, 2016 saw another bumper crop. While production was down substantially in Central Canada, other parts of the country produced an excellent crop, resulting in an estimated national yield of 307.2 hundredweight of potatoes per acre. That’s up 0.7 per cent from 2015’s yield of 305.1 hundredweight. While it’s been a third straight record-setting year for potato yields in Canada, it certainly…

Idaho potato outlook somewhat brighter in 2017

For Idaho growers looking for a bright spot in 2017, potatoes might be that crop — if potatoes are already part of the rotation. Though Idaho and Washington are still the leading potato growing states, Idaho’s share has been slowly diminishing over time. Back in 1990, when Idaho growers planted 405,000 acres of potatoes, the Gem State represented 32 to 33 percent of the nation’s entire potato acres, said Ryan Larsen, an extension…

Rawanda’s farmers push for affordable Irish potato seeds

The soaring prices of Irish potato seeds has left Rawanda’s smallholder farmers lamenting, triggering efforts by different stakeholders to seek a remedy. The prices for seeds, now between RWF600 (RWF = Rawandan Franc) and RWF700 (97 cents to $1.13 CDN), are soaring at the time when farmers are getting little from the produce, with the farm price for a kilogram of Irish potatoes now down to between RWF110 and RWF140, according to…

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