BASF to Cultivate Amflora Potatoes This Year
BASF Plant Science has announced Amflora, its genetically enhanced potato, which received EU approval last year for use in the starch industry, will be cultivated on two hectares of land in Germany this growing season. “There are many good reasons for the use of Amflora in Germany, which, after all, is renowned for growing starch potatoes. Amflora is an innovative new variety that produces pure amylopectin starch. It helps to cut down on resources, energy and costs, and offers farmers and the starch processing industry real added value,” says Peter Eckes, managing director of BASF Plant Science. BASF will also plant Amflora in Sweden during the 2011 season. After receiving approval from authorities for the majority of the Amflora seed stock, BASF will be concentrating on propagating seed stock for cultivation in subsequent years.
Global Shortage May Hike Canadian Potato Prices
Farm Credit Canada is reporting a global shortage of potatoes—stating that exports of Prince Edward Island’s 85,500-acre crop have risen dramatically, meanwhile crop acreage across North America has declined. The news might be good for producers, who could receive more money for their products, but not so good for consumers, who could see increased prices for potato products at the grocery store. However, it remains to be seen how drastically the shortage will affect potato prices. The spike in Canadian exports to Holland is being attributed to heavy rains and to a drought in Russia last year. This accounted for a 90 per cent increase in overseas sales, according to FCC. Meanwhile, exports to the United States increased by about 10 per cent. Exports to the Caribbean appear to have held steady.
Cavendish Farms Seeks Tariff Removal on French Fries
Cavendish Farms is asking the federal government to help eliminate a European trade tariff, which could open up a huge marketplace for french fries and help increase potato production on Prince Edward Island. Ron Clow, general manager of Cavendish Farms, recently told the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade that the immediate elimination of the stiff tariff—part of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement—on french fries could benefit the Maritime economy, since it currently cuts the company out of a marketplace of 400 million consumers.
Canada’s Seed Potatoes Nematode Free
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has completed all potato cyst nematode soil sampling and testing of the 2010 seed potato crop, and PCN was not detected. Over 43,200 soil samples were collected and analysed as part of Canada’s 2010 national PCN detection survey. The CFIA, working with Canadian seed potato growers, prioritized these samples to meet importing countries’ requirements and export deadlines. The CFIA, with the support of Canadian seed potato growers and other stakeholders, has tested approximately 80 per cent of the entire 2010 Canadian seed potato production area. The federal government is committed to working with stakeholders on ongoing PCN detection surveys to facilitate continued market access for Canadian seed potatoes and other potentially affected commodities, while working to protect all sectors against the spread of PCN.
International Potato Processing and Storage Convention 2011
The International Potato Processing and Storage Convention will take place in Denver, Colo., June 21–23, 2011. The convention, which alternates between being held in North America and Europe, is strategically focused upon the two key aspects of adding or maintaining value and the long-term storage and processing of potatoes. Full details of this event are available on the convention website at www.potatoconvention.com.
CFIA Says Potato Ring Rot has Not Spread
Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials say there are still only two confirmed cases of bacterial ring rot on two farms on Prince Edward Island, and they are winding down their testing. The two confirmed cases are on seed potato farms in eastern Queens County. Ring rot is not a threat to human health, but the bacteria cause a ring of rot inside the potato, which can eventually destroy the entire potato. These are the first cases of ring rot found on the Island in several years.
New Laboratory in Manitoba
Techmark Inc. has approved the Southern Manitoba Potato Company Lab as the newest potato process quality lab in the Techmark-Approved Laboratory Program. The Southern Manitoba Potato Company Lab, located in Winkler, Man., will offer sugar and fry quality testing for growers and processors in the area. Following Techmark’s procedures, the lab will analyse field and bin tuber samples for process quality. Using Techmark’s 20 years of experience and proven techniques for sugar analysis and fry quality scoring, the lab will provide data to be used by growers and storage managers to evaluate quality throughout the storage cycle. Understanding a potato storage crop’s sugar values and process quality is an important tool in any storage management plan.
Bayer CropScience and UPGC Continue Strong Relationship
The United Potato Growers of Canada and Bayer CropScience have announced their continued relationship in 2011 through a third year in the United Potato Partners Program. “Three years running, Bayer CropScience has stepped up to the plate and has contributed real dollars to support the industry through the United Potato Partners Program. In light of the current economic realities, it is refreshing to work with a partner such as Bayer who understands the industry, supports its growers, sees true value in the work we are doing at the UPGC, and is willing to contribute and support the industry,” says Mark Drouin, UPGC general manager. The UPGC will continue to deliver the United Potato Partners Program seminars, which give insight on current production, pricing and supply situations the industry is facing, along with presentations from Bruce Peterson, formerly of Wal-Mart, Dale Lathim of the Potato Marketing Association of North America, Cary Hoffman and Buzz Shahan from the United Potato Growers of America, and Bruce Huffaker from the North American Potato Market News. For more information, please contact your provincial potato board.
Peruvian Potatoes Sent to Arctic Seed Vault
As climate change and disease threaten potato farming in the Peruvian Andes, the tuber’s ancestral home, potato preservationists have launched a major effort to safeguard more than 1,500 varieties by sending them to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle. “Peruvian potato culture is under threat,” says Alejandro Argumedo, a plant scientist at the Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), which will be sending its potatoes to Svalbard in partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the International Potato Center. “The work we begin today will guarantee the availability of our incredible potato diversity for future generations,” says Argumedo.
20 Potatoes a Day Followed Up With Recipes
With his 20 potatoes-a-day diet successfully behind him, Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, is turning to potato recipes he wished he could have eaten during his two-month regimen. In response to all the fans who wrote Voigt wanting the recipes he used during his 60-day diet, the commission has engaged David Bonom, recipe developer, food writer and chef, to create new potato recipes that are healthy and tastier than Voigt’s diet fare. Voigt announced his diet plans in mid-September of last year. After two months of eating only 20 potatoes a day, his health improved by several indicators: his weight dropped from 197 to 176, his cholesterol from 214 to 147, his blood glucose from 104 to 94 and his triglycerides from 135 to 75. The new recipes are already available at www.20potatoesaday.com as well as the WSPC’s website at www.potatoes.com.