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P.E.I., Puerto Rico lobby for export of potatoes to resume

Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato growers and politicians are lobbying for the export of fresh potatoes to Puerto Rico to resume, despite the current export ban to the United States imposed by Canada’s agriculture minister. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, the P.E.I. Potato Board says the Island ships $18-$20 million worth of potatoes to the U.S. territory in a normal production year.

In 2020, sales to Puerto Rico accounted for about 25 per cent of the province’s sales to the U.S. Executive director Greg Donald said the board supports allowing potatoes to continue to be exported to Puerto Rico from P.E.I. “We believe there is no rationale for the suspension of P.E.I. potatoes to the entire U.S.,” Donald said. 

Bill Enserink of Red Isle Produce in Charlottetown said if the border closure is based on preventing the spread of potato wart, that’s not an issue for Puerto Rico. “There’s zero risk. There’s no potato-growing areas in Puerto Rico. It’s a separate island — the risk to the continental U.S.A. is zero,” Enserink said.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng was in Washington Thursday and met with Jenniffer González Colón, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, to discuss trade issues, including P.E.I. potato exports.

Source: CBC News. Read the full report here
Photo: P.E.I. Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson was in Ottawa to discuss the potato wart situation with federal officials, including Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. He was joined by the Island’s four MPs. (Lawrence MacAulay/Twitter via CBC News)

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