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Potatoes May be NAFTA Target

The National Potato Council (NPC) is calling for action in any upcoming NAFTA renegotiations. In a letter to President Donald Trump, John Keeling, the NPC’s CEO, said the group “is strongly supportive of improving the conditions for trade that we confront with Canada and Mexico.” Keeling also noted that the two countries represent important markets for U.S. producers. Canada is the second-largest export market with annual sales of $315 million — 17.8…

Should Seed Potato Growers start testing for Dickeya?

The potato disease Dickeya can be detected by laboratory testing — but is there enough of it present to justify the higher costs? That is the question for Canadian seed potato growers exporting to the United States who are increasingly asked for the test. It’s a relatively new threat to North American potato production. The invasive pathogen Dickeya dianthicola — not to be confused with blackleg causing Dickeya solani — was first…

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…

U.S. Exports of Frozen and Fresh Potatoes Grows

U.S. exports of frozen and fresh potatoes continued to grow in December while dehydrated exports were still down but by a lesser degree. The strong dollar continues to be an issue, but tight exportable supplies are also having an impact on future sales. Frozen export volume increased 22 per cent in December and is up six per cent for the first six months of the marketing year. Exports for the month were…

Brazil imposes anti-dumping duty on frozen potatoes

Last week the Brazilian Government decided to impose an anti-dumping duty on frozen potatoes imported from Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Brazil is an important export market for potato processors in Western Europe, so this duty can have significant economic impact for the processors. The issue is playing ever since the Brazilian government started an anti-dumping investigation on the import of frozen potato products from these countries in 2015. The anti-dumping…

Public trust in Canada’s food system

“Very serious” – that’s how United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) general manager Kevin MacIsaac describes the issue of lost public trust in Canadian agriculture. “We have to approach this in the same way we would deal with issues of food safety and other key issues,” he says, “because it will eventually lead to declines in consumption of certain foods if people do not trust the source.” John Bareman, chair of the Canadian…

The Agricultural Growth Act: One Year Later

In 2015, the Canadian potato breeding landscape was transformed with the adoption of the Agricultural Growth Act. The AGA, or Bill C-18 as it was otherwise known, included amendments to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act (PBRA) that brought Canada into compliance with the 1991 Act of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91). Among the numerous provisions in the amended PBRA was extending the duration of…

Feds Secure Market Access for Alberta Seed Potatoes to Thailand

The Government of Canada has secured market access for Alberta seed potatoes to Thailand. Effective immediately, Alberta becomes the third province to have an export agreement with Thailand, joining Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, both of which secured export agreements in 2009. Combined, these three provinces form about 76 per cent of Canada’s seed potato exports. Alberta’s seed potato exports to Thailand could be worth up to $2 million annually, according to…

India cuts import duty on potatoes

The government of India has cut import duty on wheat, potatoes, and crude and refined palm oils ahead of the festival season to ensure prices remain under check. On Sept. 23, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)  issued notification to cut import duty on potatoes to 10 per cent from 30 per cent until October 2016. Import duty on wheat has been lowered to 10 per cent from 25 per…

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