Just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought physical meetings to a standstill, the board of directors of United Potato Growers of Canada held a face-to-face meeting in Ottawa to review potato stocks and discuss the market situation across the country.
General Manager Kevin MacIsaac noted stocks nationally were down 1.9 per cent or one million hundredweight over the three-year-average as of March 1. However, the former chair of the PEI Potato Board noted Island holdings were up 3.9 per cent.
“Crop movement is up in Canada and the U.S. but down in export markets,” he noted. “Movement has picked up in the last few weeks with particularly good movement on large size profiles.
MacIsaac said storability has been a concern since harvest. Processing stocks on March 1 were .9% above the 3-yr. average. He noted french fry contract negotiations have started with growers laying out their position. Chip contracts are under discussion as well.
“For seed, post-harvest tests have been a little later coming back but even with 10% more seed in storage than a year ago, supplies are expected to be tight, as some newer seed orders are being shipped to customers in Manitoba this year,” he noted.
“Contract negotiations have started with one meeting with McCain Foods and one with Old Dutch. Growers have indicated to processors that their cost of production has risen significantly since their last settlement and need to be recognized in this round.”‘ he said.