Colorado potato crop looks good, but demand could use boost

The Colorado potato crop looks excellent, but prices are stagnant, raising hopes that the Trump administration’s much-discussed renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement will make headway in opening greater access to the Mexican market. “It’s an opportunity to see our issues addressed,” said Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, during a visit to his office in Monte Vista. “The Mexican market holds a lot of promise for us.” American potato consumption is 114 pounds per capita per year, while in Mexico that figure is only 25 pounds. The disparity is caused by a lack of supply, Ehrlich said. “They’ve kept their prices high to protect domestic producers, but we think there’s some middle ground there. We think if we could expand the supply of potatoes in Mexico, everybody would benefit,” he said. More

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India: Struggling with low prices, demand, farmers to sell potatoes directly to homes

Suffering significant losses due to low market prices and lack of demand, potato farmers in Uttar Pradesh have come up with a new strategy. They will now be going from door to door, selling their produce in urban areas. The move is also aimed at working around the monopoly of middlemen over market prices, they said. “At present we are selling potatoes at Rs 4 to 5 per kg, but consumers are buying them at Rs 15 to 20 per kg. Now we will sell our produce directly to households, at rates lower than what is prevailing in the market. We will sell in packets of 5 to 10kg in urban areas,” a farmer from Khandoli block said. More

Dutch potato sector accesses Argentinian market

MiniknollenAfter years of negotiations, the Argentinian border was recently opened for Dutch baby potatoes. The export of in-vitro propagated potato plants to the South American country is also now allowed. The Dutch Potato Organisation (NAO) are calling this a breakthrough of great importance for  the Dutch potato sector. The NAO is the branch organisation of potato traders, farmers and processors. Karst Weening of the NAO represented the organisation in the talks with Argentina. “The potato sector in Argentina has a lot of potential”, says Weening. “Dutch export products have an excellent image. We may finally export again, which is good news for exporters.” “The Netherlands played a crucial role in the Argentinian potato sector in the past. This was introducing new varieties and the improvement of existing varieties. This has been at a standstill for too long.” More. Report in Dutch

US potato exports increased in May

Image result for potato export imageU.S. exports of frozen, dehydrated and fresh potatoes all increased in May 2017 compared to May 2016, according to Potatoes USA. The organization reports that exports of frozen products increased 4% in volume and value and remain up 3% for the July – June marketing year. Dehy exports were up 19% in volume and 11% in value, but are still down 12% in volume for the marketing year. Fresh exports for May were up 9% in volume and 5% in value and are up 12% in volume for the year. Frozen exports for May were led by a 33% increase to Mexico, a 26% increase to Canada and 21% increase to Central America, along with substantial increases to Malaysia 15%, Philippines 25%, Taiwan 23%, Thailand 58% and Indonesia 15%. On the negative side, China continued to decline and is down 19%, while Korea reversed its positive growth for the year with a 9% decline; Japan was off 1%. Japan and Korea are still up for the marketing year, 10% and 3% respectively.  Continue reading

US potato industry joins voices supporting export assistance programs

Potato grower Eric Halverson  has spoken in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee was in Washington, D.C. regarding the importance of the USDA export programs. Mr. Halverson is a fourth-generation farmer and CEO of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, North Dakota. U.S. potato growers see fierce foreign competition in key export markets and continued access is vital for maintaining the economic health of the industry. He explained that the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) allows the U.S. to be competitive overseas through marketing and promotional activities that build commercial export markets. Halverson spoke about MAP’s important role in this public-private partnership, noting its 28-to-1 return-on-investment. More

The US wants to export its potatoes to Mexico

US potato producers began lobbying for Mexico to effectively open its doors to US exports in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “United States Potato farmers are supporting the renegotiation of NAFTA to address this matter and related sanitary and phytosanitary issues,” according to a report by the US Congress. The United States is the world’s seventh largest exporter of potatoes in the world, with sales of $ 204 million dollars in 2016, 37 million of which corresponded to the Mexican market. Mexico continues prohibiting imports of U.S. fresh potatoes beyond a 26-kilometer area along its border with the United States, despite a number of attempts to address this issue. More

Australia: Spud growers face ‘perfect storm’

Blackleg symptoms in a potato stem caused by Dickeya dianthicola.Potato growers in the region are bracing for a “perfect storm”, with farmers warned to be alert for signs of disease after a new bacteria was recently detected. The detection of dickeya dianthicola in a commercial crop north of Perth comes as local farmers try to adapt to newly deregulated markets and the loss of interstate exportation after another pest — the tomato potato psyllid — was detected in February. Jindong potato farmer Daryl Smith said the detection of new bacteria came at a difficult time for growers. “We have way too many spuds at the moment; the market is flooded,” he said. “Export has stopped because of fear we may have bacteria in our potatoes and now another potential blackleg disease, so it’s pretty tough. “I’m fairly sure there will be potatoes that just won’t be harvested.” More

Video: AHDB Potatoes Market Intelligence webinar

On June 26 AHDB Potatoes in the UK hosted a webinar on several issues related to the potato industry in Great Britain. The webinar covered the following:
• Introduction from Sector Strategy Director Rob Clayton
• First look at GB potato planted area: setting the scene for the season ahead, Amber Cottingham, MI Analyst for AHDB Potatoes
• What are the consumer trends impacting the potato industry, Emily Beardshaw, AHDB Consumer Insight Analyst
• Brexit: Opportunities and challenges in the potato trade, David Swales, Head of AHDB Consumer Insight
• AHDB Potatoes Strategy update from Sector Strategy Director Rob Clayton
• Questions and answers
Watch video on YouTube

Colombia: Potato sector asks government to accept their anti-dumping suit

This week the Colombian government will determine whether they will accept the anti-dumping suit filed by the potato sector in the face of massive imports of potatoes that have put at risk the activity of more than 100 thousand national producers. “We have already filed the anti-dumping lawsuit, we hope to find out this week if the government will take precautionary measures or if they will reject the measures we are espousing.” According to the president of Fedepapa, German Palacio, it is urgent that the control agencies and the Government intervene, as it is illogical to make imports when the dollar costs more than 3 thousand pesos. More

US: Red potatoes enjoying hot summer

Image result for red potatoesAs the summer solstice hit on June 21, California’s weather heated up with record temperatures noted in many different communities. At the same time, the market for red potatoes also heated up and a strong market is expected throughout July. Gary Askenaizer, who handles bulk potato sales for Progressive Produce Corp. in Los Angeles, told The Produce News on June 29 that supplies of red potatoes were short as the Kern County, CA, deal winds down before deals in Stockton, CA, and eastern Washington get under way. He said the colored potato market appeared to be fairly strong. He also noted that the russet potato market might see some strengthening as well, as the fresh crop from the Northwest looks like it is at least a couple of weeks behind typical timing. “The new crop out of Washington doesn’t look like it is going to get going until the end of July. That’s later than usual.” More

Canada: Optimistic outlook for potato crop in 2017

Strong pricing, stable contract volumes and a low dollar help provide an optimistic outlook for the Canadian potato crop this season. Potato growers in Canada enjoyed a banner year in 2016. Prices for fresh potatoes were strong from coast to coast. And for the third year in a row, the national average for potato yield hit record levels, coming in at 307 hundredweight (cwt) per acre. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), said growers enjoyed above average yields in most parts of the country. Despite a late start this year, MacIsaac said most growers remain optimistic about this season. The number of acres planted this season is expected to be relatively close to last year’s overall total of 346,827 acres and may even increase slightly in some provinces. Another bit of good news is that holdings from last season have declined significantly as the 2016 crop has moved through the pipeline. Challenges are foreseen regarding exports to the US though. More

‘Challenges’ over Scottish seed potato exports

Seed potato growers who have been confident that crucial trade with Egypt and other non-EU markets would not be disrupted by Brexit may be in for a shock. According to Peter Hardwick, the export chief of levy body AHDB, securing the future of exports such as potatoes and malting barley to third countries is complex and presents “real challenges”. Around 75% of seed potato exports are sent out of the EU, mainly from Scotland, and Mr Hardwick said the industry needed to be “realistic” to ensure there was continuity in these markets. “When you look at existing EU trade agreements in detail, the UK is listed separately, so it may be relatively straightforward to disentangle ourselves and enter into a bilateral agreement with the third country,” he said. More

Spanish potatoes sold on Amazon

Innovating, modernising, profitability, adapting to the consumer of the 21st century… these are some of the concepts that are always mentioned in any forum addressing the agro-food industry and looking to the future. According to Juan Manuel Coello, Operations Director of Patatas Meléndez, “It is undoubtedly certain that the mindset of the current buyer is very different to that of previous times, and we have to adapt to new forms of consumption, current trends in food or new purchasing systems.” In this sense, Patatas Meléndez started selling some of its products through Amazon a little over a month ago. “It’s been a long process. We’ve been negotiating with them for three months, showing them that we meet their requirements. It’s an attractive new option and we believe that, with time, it will attract many customers.” Moreover, the company is selling three formats that seek to satisfy different market trends, thus offering the producer new options, new varieties and new ways of working with a more than interesting profitability.

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US: 10th Annual Crop Transition Conference delivers valuable information

The 10th annual Crop Transition Conference was held last Wednesday in Bloomington, Minnesota; a conference many who attended call the most valuable meeting of the year. The conference which is organized by the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA) was first held in 2008 and was focused only of the red potato market.  The leaders at UPGA were aware of how every year the red market crashed in August  when the large summer red crop hit the market out of Central Minnesota (Big Lake). This was not just a problem for the growers from Big Lake but also the storage states that inherited the price like the Red River Valley, the nation’s largest red shipper. In most years up until 2008, the Red River Valley entered the market with their fall crop before the summer crop from Big Lake was wrapped up.  Data compiled by UPGA and communicated to growers at those early meetings found the problem wasn’t as much with over-supply as it was with timing.  It became evident that growers in different regions needed to communicate with each other to find the best marketing window for each of their crops.  Continue reading

UK: Potato planted area estimated to increase by 4%

Image result for potato fieldAHDB Potatoes Market Intelligence Analysts estimate the total area planted with potatoes in Great Britain this season is 121,000 hectares. The figure was announced today (Monday 26 June) during a public webinar. This is up by four per cent on the previous year, the same as 2014 and at a similar level to the area planted in 2012 and 2013. The increase in area in Britain matches similar estimates from across the channel. The North-west European Potato Growers (NEPG), which covers Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, estimated a combined increase of 3.6% for last month. Despite area increase, final production figures will depend on the yield of potatoes per hectare. AHDB market analysts’ considered various yield scenarios, pointing to a likely rise in production.  Continue reading