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McDonald’s turns to local potatoes in Russia as U.S. sanctions impact the ruble

French fries at McDonald’s restaurants from Moscow to Murmansk will be Russian from now on, as the American fast-food chain turns to homegrown potatoes to deal with ruble volatility caused by fluctuating oil prices and Western sanctions. McDonald’s Corp, which opened in Russia in 1990 as the Soviet Union collapsed, has been gradually turning to local ingredients in its Russian outlets for everything from Big Macs to chicken burgers since it opened…

Europatat 2018 Congress

Europatat is the European Potato Trade Association. It gathers national associations and companies involved in the trade of seed potatoes and ware potatoes from all over Europe. Initially set up in 1952 by national associations to protect the interests of the wholesale potato merchants, its membership now counts over 30 associations and companies. In order to create a meeting for all potato professionals on the edge of a new potato season, Europatat…

Peru Prepares to Host World Potato Congress

More than 800 delegates are expected to attend the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) May 27 to 31 in Cusco, the historic city in southwestern Peru that was once capital of the Inca Empire. The event, which will showcase the origins of the potato in the South America’s Andean region, is being held in Latin America for the first time. “I think it will be such a unique and different experience for…

Searching for the occasional market for excess potatoes

Organizations representing potato farmers in Belgium and France, ABS (Algemeen Boerensyndicaat, Flanders), FWA (Walloon Federation of Agriculture) and UNPT (National Union of Potato Producers, France), jointly started Interreg project GEPOS to look for alternative destinations for potatoes in Belgium and the North of France in seasons marked by large surpluses. The Problem Demand for potatoes for processing in Belgium and France increases each year. As a result, acreage dedicated to potato cultivation…

Potato blight trends in Europe

Late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, remains the major threat to potato crops in Europe, and a main reason for pesticide use. EuroBlight is a European network of scientists and other specialists working on potato early and late blight. The EuroBlight project is examining the ongoing evolution of the potato late blight pathogen (Phytophthora infestans). In 2017, almost 1500 samples from 16 countries in Europe were genotyped. The results indicate that new…

Which came first: humans or the sweet potato?

Sweet potatoes were domesticated thousands of years ago in the Americas. So 18th century European explorers were surprised to find Polynesians had been growing the crop for centuries. Anthropologists have since hypothesized that Polynesian seafarers had brought the tuber back from expeditions to South America — a journey of over 7,500 kilometers. New genetic evidence instead suggests that wild precursors to sweet potatoes reached Polynesia at least 100,000 years ago — long…

CIP recognized with award of excellence at the International Pest Management Symposium

The International Potato Center (CIP) was recognized with an International IPM Award of Excellence at the 9th International Symposium on Pest Management in Baltimore, Maryland. In the early 1990s, CIP Integrated Pest Management and plant pathology team recognized the need to take a farmer-centric approach to curb the devastating losses in potato yields from late blight infestations. Partial or complete crop loss can be catastrophic for smallholder farmers who rely on seasonal…

Malta potato industry in decline

Over a decade, Malta potato exports fell from 7,200 tonnes in the 2004 crop to just 3,100 tonnes in 2014, a massive 56 per cent drop. This relentless decline of potato cultivation in Malta was documented in an overview of the agricultural sector in the national 2018-2028 policy that described export levels falling “drastically” in 2015 and 2016 due to the shortage of rainfall. Even the area dedicated for the cultivation of…

From muddy spud to the perfect French fry: Information experts are optimizing potato production

Modern potato harvesting can be a pretty rough business. In years gone by, the farmers would be out in the fields assisted by friends and family carefully digging up the potato crop by hand. Today, mechanical harvesters are in use. But if the machinery is not adjusted correctly, the potatoes can get badly bumped and knocked as they move along the agitator belts, hitting stones and each other on their way. This…

Georgia Bans Import of Potatoes from Turkey

Georgia’s Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture stated that they have banned potato imports from Turkey until July 2018 to eliminate the spread of “potato cancer” on Georgian territory. The relevant decree was signed by the Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvli. The Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Levan Davitashvili, stated that prohibition of potato imports from Turkey for several months is a temporary sanitary measure. “This is a sanitary…

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