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Prince Edward Island potato growers seek ‘quick’ answers to resolve trade issue with U.S.

The group representing potato farmers on Prince Edward Island says its members need answers quickly from Ottawa on the decision to suspend all shipments of fresh potatoes from the Island to the United States or the industry will face huge financial losses.

According to a The Canadian Press news story, published by CoastReporter, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board general manager Greg Donald says farmers were shocked to learn Monday that Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau had ordered the trade restriction after the recent discovery of potato wart in two P.E.I. fields.  

“This isn’t a new issue for us,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s something we’ve been managing for 20 years. The plan we have is one that has been formally accepted by the U.S.” Donald said rules created by the federal government have prevented any spread from the province to the U.S.

Donald said he wants to know what changed to lead to the pressure from the Americans. He said he believes it is solely a politically based trade disruption. “The minister says she has full confidence in the science. If she says that, and we certainly believe that, then what else can it be?”

Donald notes that the same controls on P.E.I. potatoes going to the United States apply to Idaho potatoes shipped into Canada. “If those provisions are being questioned for fresh potatoes going to the U.S., why are they adequate for those potatoes coming to Canada from Idaho?” he asked.

Source: The Canadian Press via CoastReporter. Read the full story here
Photo: The Canadian Press
Related news: Prince Edward Island vows to fight federal decision to halt potato exports to U.S. over potato wart

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