Canada’s potato industry joins a growing number of food sectors that finds itself in crisis, a crisis sparked by the near elimination of demand for french fries.
Global News has learned that the Canadian Potato Council, which represents 1,000 potato growers across the country, sent a letter Thursday to Agriculture and Agri-food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau requesting “urgent required interventions” that the council says are vital to protect the potato industry and food security in Canada.
The problem for potato growers is too many potatoes have been grown that were destined to be served as french fries in restaurants that are now closed or only offering take-out.
And while Canada’s food supply chain now has to deal with too many potatoes, it may soon struggle with not enough beef, pork and, possibly, seafood.
Bibeau, along with many other experts, has cautioned that Canada is not about to run out of food, though she and others have acknowledged that these supply chain problems could result in higher prices and potential shortages of some specific products.
The federal government has already instituted several measures to support Canada’s agri-food sector, including providing a cash injection of $5-billion to Farm Credit Canada which the government says has allowed thousands of producers to defer their loans.
A “Canada Purchase Program” or equivalent is among the measures the Canada Potato Council is pushing. The council is also asking for specific help for potato seed growers as well as some regulatory and other changes to existing agricultural support programs.