Potato convention explores opportunities of globalisation

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Potato Agriculture

Improving international activities in a time of increasing
globalisation is the focus of this year's Potato Processing and
Storage Convention.

According to the organisers, globalisation has led to growing concerns from potato processors on storage qualities and technique, spurring them to combine the two areas in their conventions. David Brenchley, one of the event's organisers, told BakeryandSnacks.com: "Processors are under ever greater requirements to produce optimum qualities, so you need optimum raw material supply. Storers need to maintain the crop for many, many months in as near perfect a state as possible. They must work in harmony, or at least with mutual understanding." ​The potato storage industry continues to play an ever-increasing role in supplying processors, retail and foodservice markets, according to the organisers, making it an important sector in the potato supply chain. "Maximising storage life and product quality are more valid than ever and are the key factors to adding - or maintaining - value,"​ they said. Meanwhile, the potato processing industry has been experiencing substantial developments recently. The organisers said: "Levels of investment in new facilities and new technologies are again high and industry analysts expect this to continue for several years as the industry boosts quality of production and new product development."​ Focusing on the modern technologies and key influences effecting potato processing, the topics that will be covered at the convention include:

  • Analysis of the two largest potato-growing countries in Europe, Russia and Ukraine, and how they are improving efficiencies

  • The relationship between processing operations and raw potatoes

  • Modern approaches to refrigerated potato storage ventilation

The event, run by the Potato Processing International and Potato Storage International magazines, will take place in Warsaw from 24 to 26 June. Potato potential ​ Interest in potatoes, and ingredients derived from the crop, are expected to experience growing demand as cereal prices continue to soar. For the International Year of the Potato the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is currently promoting the tuber as a more efficient food crop that can improve food security in developing countries. About 80 per cent of the potato crop can be used for human consumption, significantly more than for cereals like corn and wheat. FAO is also organizing a series of events and conferences to boost knowledge about the crop. It wants to bring together scientists to share findings on more productive potato varieties and how to use the tuber in processed foods. Production of potatoes is anyway growing faster than grains, particularly in developing countries. The global crop reached a record 320 million tonnes in 2007, with developing countries accounting for more than half of the world's harvest compared with a mere third in 1990. In China, the world's biggest potato producer responsible for 72 million tonnes last year, agriculture experts have proposed that potato become the major food crop on much of the country's arable land. By 2020, the average annual growth rate of potatoes will be 2.7 per cent, predicts the FAO, compared with 1.8 per cent for corn, 1.5 per cent for wheat and 1.3 per cent for rice. Snacks continue to be an important market for potatoes, with tastes in developing countries falling more and more inline with those in developed countries. For example, sales of potato chips or crisps in Latin America are projected to reach $4.2bn (€2.8bn) over the next three years. In Asia-Pacific, sales of cheese snacks and pretzels are together are expected to reach 296.5 US tons.

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