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Canadian potato industry on the upswing

After several years of challenging times, the Canadian processing potato industry is feeling a lift, in part due to a lower loonie. It’s stimulated exports of french fries and other processed products as well as fresh potatoes to the United States and other markets, and for the first time in years some processing plants in Canada are expanding their production lines. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, says most of the big processing companies like McCain and Simplot have plants on both sides of the border and will move production around to gain the most benefit from currency fluctuations. Recently, this has been helping Canadian producers. “The way the dollar is now, (the processors) can run their plants harder in Canada,” he says. “In the past, when the dollar went the other way, they ran their plants harder in U.S. and perhaps were under capacity in Canada.” Generally, though, the past 10 to 15 years have been tough for the Canadian potato industry. While there are fewer potato farms, the operations that remain are larger than ever. According to MacIsaac and other observers, there’s a trend towards amalgamation. More

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