North America, Promotion/Marketing, Trade/Markets/Prices

Trade ban clouds solid potato year for Canadian farmers

It was a good year for Canada’s potato farmers in 2021 with seeded and harvested acres and yields reaching levels not seen for more than a decade, according to Statistics Canada estimates. However, significant challenges remain with Prince Edward Island, the nation’s largest producer, dealing with an export ban while a tough weather year in the west might mean production will fall short of being able to meet an increase in processing capacity.

Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of Potato Growers of Canada, said the initial indications of a good harvest this year proved to be accurate despite some areas where weather impacted producers in the western provinces. Compared to 2020, which saw production dip, 2021 has turned into a rebound year for the growers, he said.

But challenges in the form of excessive heat on the Prairies this summer and a November federal ban on exports of P.E.I. spuds to the United States due to potato wart in two fields on the island could take a bite out of this year’s bottom line.

“We know that our provincial agriculture industry is strong and has played a leading role in helping our provincial economy through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bloyce Thompson, P.E.I. minister of agriculture, in a release announcing financial supports.

“With these current trade restrictions imposed on them through no fault of their own — they need our help now.” The ban could have devastating effects on growers, said MacIsaac.

Source: The Western Producer. Read the full story here

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