Potato farmers across North America are destroying
millions of tonnes of fresh potatoes this winter,
plowing the crops back into their fields.
A bumper harvest in 2004 combined with declining potato consumption
has led to a huge North American surplus.
POTATOES PLOUGHED UNDER
Neither Canadian agencies nor the United Nations World Food Program
consider potatoes suitable for foreign food aid.
The weight of potatoes makes them very expensive to ship overseas.
It never ceases to amaze me how compliant and docile farmers are about following the insane orders of the marketing boards, especially when they run contrary to common sense, nature and the farmer's economic survival. Farmers, afterall, have a vital underlying mission in life which is to provide food for the people. If an individual farmer, or farmers as a group, don't stand up to the powers-that-be who are attempting to destroy them and the world's food with them, then who will?
As hard as it is to believe, farmers in the food belts of Canada and the United States, in this year of 2005, are destroying BILLIONS of tons of perfectly good potatoes because they can't get a high enough price for them. At the same time - half way around the world - millions of people are STARVING TO DEATH due to food shortages caused by war and disaster.
In North America, the very continent where the potatoes are being destroyed by the trillion, the governments have been appropriating billions of taxpayers' dollars in the name of the tsunami disaster. And for one month solid international organizations like the Red Cross, World Vision, Unicef and you name it have been begging ceaselessly for money. And yet the United Nations and the American and Canadian Aid Agencies say "potatoes cost too much to ship". So what, exactly, have these organizations been doing with the billions of dollars they received if they don't have enough money to pay the farmers for the potatoes and the ships to transport them?
Why are farmers, knowing that there is hunger at home and abroad, ploughing perfectly good potatoes into the ground? ~ Jackie Jura
Potatoes plowed under by the billion to lift price
P.E.I. alone will destroy 5% of its crop;
Decline in consumption drives spud glut that affects growers across North America
Richard Foot, CanWest News Service, Jan 28, 2005
Potato farmers across North America are destroying millions of tonnes of fresh potatoes this winter, plowing the crops back into their fields, thanks to a massive unwanted supply. A bumper harvest in 2004 combined with declining potato consumption has led to a huge North American surplus. In an effort to boost slumping prices, farmers are being told by their marketing boards to destroy - or "divert," as the industry puts it - thousands of truckloads of potatoes.
This continental effort is being encouraged by Prince Edward Island, Canada's largest potato-growing province, where farmers have been told to destroy 67.5 million kilograms of potatoes this year, about five per cent of the Island's annual potato output.
In Idaho, North America's biggest producer, the industry intends to destroy 180 million kilograms of potatoes.
"It's sickening to waste all this food when so many people in the world go hungry," says Ivan Noonan, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. "You should see the look on a farmer's face when they have to dump their crops back on their fields." Yet Noonan says the industry has no choice. He says prices are so low even farmers who can find buyers aren't covering the costs of their production. The long-term solution is to grow fewer potatoes.
P.E.I. has destroyed part of its potato harvest before. Five years ago, it plowed back 270 million kilograms of potatoes after the United States temporarily closed its border to P.E.I.'s crop because of a potato virus on the Island.
But Noonan says this is the first time he can remember a deliberate campaign to destroy potatoes simply to boost prices. Some of Canada's unwanted supply will be turned into cattle feed. A small amount might also find its way into local food banks. And if international humanitarian relief agencies want tonnes of fresh P.E.I. potatoes, they're welcome to them, Noonan says. However, neither Canadian agencies nor the United Nations World Food Program consider potatoes suitable for foreign food aid. Unlike grains or flour, the weight of potatoes makes them very expensive to ship overseas.
The Canadian International Development Agency says that this year, 800 million people around the planet won't have enough food to eat. "We have all these potatoes sitting here in P.E.I. and nowhere to send them," Noonan said. "It's an awful shame."
Is potato-only diet good for you?
BBC, Nov29, 2010
A man in the US has eaten nothing but 20 potatoes a day for the past two months. So, the Magazine asks, what does such a diet do to the body? Chris Voigt's reason for eating potatoes, potatoes and nothing but potatoes is as plain and simple as his diet has been for the past two months. As executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, he's trying to debunk perceptions that potatoes are unhealthy and instead are a good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C. To that end, he's eaten nothing but 20 potatoes a day - no cheese toppings, no butter and milk for mashing - since 1 October. He's had them baked, chipped, boiled, steamed, mashed, fried - and for Thanksgiving last Thursday, he feasted on mashed potato formed into a turkey shape, and pumpkin pie made with - you guessed it - mashed potato with pumpkin pie flavouring added. Nutritionist Fiona Hunter agrees that potatoes have a bad rep. "Although many people think potatoes are nothing more than starch carbs, they are a surprising source of several vitamins and minerals. However, eating just potatoes will not provide all the nutrients needed for good health." Critics had warned Mr Voigt it would lead to weight gain, loss of energy and worryingly high blood sugar levels from all the carbohydrates. But in the course of his two-month diet, Mr Voigt himself says he has lost 18 pounds. His previously borderline-high cholesterol has dropped - down 52 points at the half-way mark. And the family food bill is down as he can feed himself for $15 (£9.40) a week. "Physically I feel great. Lots of energy, sleep good at night, no strange side-effects," says Mr Voigt from his office in Moses Lake, Washington state. "I'm not encouraging anyone to go on this crazy diet, nor would my doctor. This diet was just a bold statement to remind people that there is a lot of nutrition in a potato...
The surprising health benefits of the humble spud, Daily Mail, Aug 16, 2009
FOOD COMES FROM FARMERS
SEIZURE OF LAND AND SLAUGHTER OF STOCK IN USSR
ENGINEERED FAMINE IN ZIMBABWE
PLANTING POTATOES (on a lighter note)
TAKE NOT OUR DAILY BREAD and FOOD CONTROL and WORLD FOOD BANK and FEEDLOTS INSTEAD OF FARMS and PREVENTIVE KILLING and FACTORY FARMING COVER-UP and MAD COW TERROR and FEEDING FREEDOM'S FOES
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~