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Seasonal help can be hard to come by

No two Canadian potato operations have the same challenges. Coast to coast, the problems and opportunities facing producers vary widely based on geography and markets. But one problem might be a little more common than others: finding the right seasonal help during the two busiest times of year – planting and harvest. In New Brunswick, a shortage of skilled workers has been a problem for years, says Paul Leahey, who has managed…

More Than Just a Purple Potato

Although potato growers, large grocery chains and potato processors continue to meet the consumer’s insatiable appetite for fries and chips, the consumption value of all potato varieties is being lost in the bin. When the potato was given a bad reputation in the high protein diet craze, consumers began to move to other starches. Recently, the industry has attempted to prompt a new conversation about the nutritional value of the humble spud….

US: Potato Growers Provide NAFTA Enhancements to Administration

In a letter to President Donald Trump, the National Potato Council (NPC) provided specific recommendations on how the Administration can improve the terms of trade for potato exports under NAFTA. “Improving NAFTA can benefit rural America and our nation’s economy,” said NPC Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling. “The potato industry is strongly supportive of building on the successes we have seen over the life of NAFTA.” Canada and Mexico are…

Understanding the Potato’s Appeal

A graph of table potato consumption per capita in Canada over the past 20 years plainly illustrates a stark reality: the average Canadian today consumes just 22.2 kilograms of fresh potatoes per year, barely more than half the 42.7 kilograms an average Canadian consumed two decades ago. The decline in per capita consumption is a serious and ongoing concern, and a priority for the potato industry to continue working to mitigate. That…

Industry Comment: The Importance of Unity

The United Potato Growers of Canada was formed in 2006. Our country followed a similar initiation of our sister organization, the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA), formed by our neighbours south of the border. It was formed out of desperation. Growers were losing their shirts financially and it was an attempt to bring a tide that would raise all boats. Even more importantly it was recognized at that time that the…

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…

Potatoes USA Elects New Leadership

The Potatoes USA grower membership elected new leadership during its Annual Meeting held in Denver, CO, March 13-16. The Potatoes USA Executive Committee is comprised by the Chair, Immediate Past Chair, and the Co-Chairs of each committee. They will serve a one year term through Potatoes USA Annual Meeting to be held in March 2018. The marketing committees will work over the next 12 months to guide how the Potatoes USA staff…

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