Minister for Agriculture Farrukh Javed told the Provincial Assembly on Wednesday that farmers across the province were facing serious financial problems, including low prices for their crop and delay in receipt of payments. The minister said there was no ban on export of potatoes. “Potato exports will pick up after February 15 when we begin exporting to Russia,” he said. He said potatoes from the Punjab were already being exported to Sri Lanka.
Syngenta yesterday announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the company at US$ 465 per ordinary share plus a special dividend of CHF 5 to be paid conditional upon and prior to closing. The offer is equivalent to a Swiss franc value of CHF 480 per share, based on Feb 1 exchange rate. Syngenta shareholders will in addition receive the proposed ordinary dividend of CHF 11 in May 2016. It is planned to make a facility available for the conversion of US dollar sales proceeds into Swiss francs on closing. The Board of Directors of Syngenta considers that the proposed transaction respects the interests of all stakeholders and is unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders. There is committed financing for the deal and a strong commitment to pursue regulatory clearances. A Swiss and U.S. tender offer will commence in the coming weeks and the transaction is expected to conclude by the end of the year.
West Australia’s potato growers have accused Colin Barnett of turning a blind eye to their plight despite warnings about the future of an industry in limbo. Potato Growers Association of WA chief executive Ross Taylor fired a parting shot at the Premier after standing down from his role this week. Mr Taylor said Mr Barnett had refused to meet the PGAWA or act on its blueprint for immediate deregulation accompanied by a $24 million assistance package despite saying publicly he was willing to consider industry proposals on the issue. Growers have been forced to dump about 1400 tonnes of potatoes over the past three months as the regulated marketing system unravels around them.
British seed exports to Egypt fell by six per cent during the last year following new last-minute tuber sizing restrictions. Total exports still reached 50,000 tonnes, with industry body AHDB Potatoes reporting that the season was better than expected. There had been fears that the last-minute changes to standards would damage British firms, as Egypt takes around 60 per cent of UK seed potato exports. Head of seed exports at AHDB Potatoes, Rob Burns, said the organisation is focusing on new markets, to ensure British exports have a wide portfolio of destinations available.
Aviko Potato is gestart met de contractering voor het teeltjaar 2016. Telers hebben de keuze uit vaste prijscontracten, poolcontracten, fritesgarantiecontracten via de aardappeltermijnmarkt, min/max contracten, dagprijscontracten en komend oogstjaar vindt er ook een pilot plaats met variabel volume op vaste prijscontract, afhankelijk van de opbrengst. Verspreid over de kleigebieden doet een aantal telers dit jaar ervaring op met een contract waarbij de totale hectare-opbrengst voor een vaste prijs door Aviko Potato wordt gekocht. De basiscontractprijzen zijn nauwelijks gewijzigd ten opzichte van vorig jaar. Ook de leveringsvoorwaarden zijn dit jaar nagenoeg ongewijzigd. Ze zijn besproken en afgestemd met de Aardappel Teler Commissie. Voor komend oogstjaar zijn de contracten op een aantal punten gewijzigd.
The United States Potato Board has just launched a new marketing campaign. USPB Marketing Program Director Kim Breshears shares more details: “We are calling it the Ninth Wonder of the World — Potatoes. This celebrates the fun and versatility of cooking with potatoes. We are tapping into the adventurous nature of today’s consumers with a variety of tactics that range from print adverting, to digital advertising, to social media, to use of video, we’re working extensively with the media to get a lot of PR coverage. Really to just celebrate all the wonder that the potato delivers to consumers in their cuisines.”
A Melbourne man who has declared he will only be eating potatoes for the next year says he has no intention of becoming the new face of fad dieting. Elwood resident and father-of-one Andrew Flinders Taylor embarked on a 366-day “potato only” diet on January 1, in the hopes of improving his “relationship” with food. Mr Taylor, 36, has chronicled his journey in a series of posts to YouTube and Facebook. He said he was inspired to try the diet after struggling with controlling his food intake and finding commentary online about the root vegetable’s nutritional benefits. “Lots of people in the past have lived on nothing but potatoes. I guess potatoes are a much-maligned food, people tend to think of them as empty calories. I’m hoping to show that potatoes are a health food. It’s been done before, I’m confident it can be done again.” Mr Taylor said that in the past four weeks , he has already lost 10kg, despite having done “not much” exercise. Mr Taylor said that against all expectations, he has not become “absolutely sick of potatoes” and feels the diet is already doing him good. Mr Taylor has defended his diet on the basis it was approved by his doctor.
Scientists in China have developed a way of making fertilizer from waste water discharged by potato processing plants, solving a pollution problem which has held back China’s potato ambitions. “For years, there has been no technical solution to this problem, forcing environmental authorities to close more than 10,000 small plants, which has hurt the potato market and farmers,” said Liu Gang, researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou institute of chemical physics. Liu’s team has developed technology that can halve the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of the effluent by removing starch, fiber and protein. The processed water does not need to be dumped either, because of its high nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus content make it a perfect irrigation water.
A pesticide used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to kill a rare potato pest has turned out to have nasty side effects for several eastern Idaho farmers, officials said this week. Methyl bromide, a highly toxic fumigant, was used as part of a treatment plan to eradicate pale cyst nematode, following the discovery of the pest in Bonneville and Bingham counties in 2006. Now, some farmers have found that the pesticide contaminated a number of their crops grown on the treated fields, and also caused severe health issues for some cattle, Idaho Department of Agriculture officials told the Legislature’s budget committee this week. Agriculture officials are asking for $250,000 to conduct research on the problem, as well as dispose of 2,000 tons of contaminated hay in a local landfill. “It is a mess,” Agriculture Director Celia Gould told the committee Monday. “What the research hopes to show is, how do we get (the methyl bromide) out of the soil?”
On February 1, the construction of the new Kiremko building started in a festive way in Montfoort, The Netherlands. Directors Paul Oosterlaken and Andy Gowing gave the official go-ahead with the striking of the symbolic first pile in the presence of the employees and other invited guests. For the occasion, everyone was wearing a white construction helmet with the new Kiremko logo. This was especially designed for the 50th anniversary and symbolizes teamwork and long lasting partnerships. Kiremko is a Dutch engineering company, which is fully dedicated to the potato processing industry.
The Northwest potato industry is still working to recoup its losses from last year’s work slowdown at West Coast container ports, leaders say. Several regional and national industry leaders shared the outlooks for the year ahead during the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference in Kennewick, Wash. Blair Richardson, president and CEO of the U.S. Potato Board, said the industry put additional money into recapturing market losses from the port slowdown. In 2015, exports dropped by 20 percent from October to June. Following the increased effort to regain lost market share, exports increased by 19 percent during the July-November reporting period, he said.
The Northern European potato market is quiet. Dutch exports are disappointing, Belgium hopes for a rebound in prices in the coming weeks and the German market shows no whims. In Scotland, growers have some concerns for the coming season. The wet soil could hamper the planting. Further south, French and Italian traders have a good market with great prizes. The Spanish stocks have been almost fully depleted; there are complaints from French traders, who find Spanish prices are too low and therefore are not exporting. The harvest this year will probably start earlier due to the warm weather. Growers in other Mediterranean countries are also looking forward to the start of the season. In Cyprus, the impact of frost could result in smaller sizes; Egypt expects a lower production and Israel has again predicted low prices in the domestic market. In the U.S., producers have had a good harvest and there are consequently greater volumes in storage, but the market is stable. In Australia, prices are low due to a large supply and low demand.
Prince Edward Island potato growers are rubbing the crystal ball this year when it comes to the amount of acreage to plant across the province. During a United Potato Growers of Canada seminar Wednesday they were advised to plant less. Extensive data shows wholesale prices would rise, the meeting heard. However, growers were also advised the low Canadian dollar will increase exports in the months ahead and for many, growing extra acres this year, is a gamble that might lead to profit in a year being described as “very, very tough” in such a flat market.
The first field trial of genetically modified (GM) potatoes resistant to potato blight conducted in Uganda from October 2015 to January 2016 has been completed at the Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (KaZARDI) of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) near Kabale. In Uganda, losses due to potato late blight can reach up to 60%, forcing farmers to spray fungicides up to 15 times to protect their crops. About 300,000 smallholder households grow potatoes for their subsistence living and income generation. Losses due to late blight represents between 10-25% of their revenue from potato.
Idaho State University researchers have found high-tech cameras mounted on drones flying 60 meters above potato fields can effectively detect individual diseased and stressed plants. Furthermore, greenhouse testing by University of Idaho plant pathologist Louise-Marie Dandurand, using the same advanced sensors to assess diseased plants, has confirmed specific crop ailments, such as nematode feeding or potato virus Y infection, can be differentiated by studying a plant’s “spectral signature.” The researchers, led by ISU assistant geosciences professor Donna Delparte, intend to use those signatures to develop algorithms for quickly identifying crop ailments detected by multi-spectral and more sensitive hyper-spectral cameras.
Bangladeshi scientists have successfully field-tested a genetically modified (GM) potato resistant to late blight, one of the most devastating plant diseases caused by fungal attack. After the last trial is over in February, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) will approach regulators for approval of the RB (blight resistant) gene-infused potato. Once released, GM potato will be farmers’ answer to late blight, BARI officials have said.
An Irish photographer makes a million dollars with one shot. Kevin Abosch is famous for his photos of Yoko Ono, Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman and Steven Spielberg. His latest photograph isn’t a celebrity picture but an organic spud. This print of a potato was sold to a European business man for one million dollars. The buyer says he liked the simple portrait named, “Potato #345.” If the sale price is verified it will be the 15th most expensive photo ever sold.
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