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Drought hitting Canada’s Maritime farms hard, especially Prince Edward Island potato growers

Maritime farmers are starting to call this summer’s lack of rain “disastrous”, reports Jonathan MacInnis for CTV News.

Famous for its potatoes, Prince Edward Island produces over a million kilograms of spuds every year, but this year is different. Over the last three months, some areas of P.E.I. have only received 15 per cent of its usual rainfall. Estimates suggest the harvest will be down 25 per cent — at a minimum.

“Put that in perspective,” said Greg Donald, the general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. “For all the potato farmers in P.E.I., that would be more than a $50 million dollar loss.” But there’s not much they can do to save their season.

Agricultural irrigation was outlawed on Prince Edward Island in 2002. It’s the only province in the country where farmers aren’t allowed to water their crops.

“You’re able to irrigate golf courses here in the province of Prince Edward Island, you can get deep water wells, high capacity wells for car washes, truck washes, things of that nature but if you’re growing food, you’re not allowed,” said Richard Godfrey the executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.

Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King met with farmers Thursday to discuss agricultural irrigation. Farmers are hopeful it’s a step toward reversing the moratorium.

Source: CTV News. Full report and a video here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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