Potato acres across Canada are expected to be down for 2020, due to contract volume cuts in March as the pandemic lockdown hit North America, writes Shel Zolkewich in an article published by Spudsmart magazine.
After a three-month long rollercoaster ride for the potato industry, there’s good news on the horizon. “The rebound is happening faster than anyone anticipated,” Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, told Zolkewich in a phone interview. “We thought we would have far too many potatoes in the market – and now, the opposite is happening in many areas.”
MacIsaac explains that french fry manufacturers in particular are frantic to buy stock from growers to meet the rapidly increasing demand as pandemic restrictions begin to lift and more people head out to restaurants.
While the rebound is encouraging news for the long-term future of the industry, production for the 2020 crop year will likely be down significantly — this simply came down to unfortunate timing.
“We won’t know the exact numbers until the Statistics Canada results are released in July, but we can say that we’re at least down by 10,000 acres,” MacIsaac says. In 2019, Canadian growers planted 362,000 acres.
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Photo above: Potatoes are sorted on a Canadian farm before shipment. | United Potato Growers of Canada