North America, Trade/Markets/Prices

‘First glimmer of hope’: Prince Edward Island potato growers react to news on export ban

Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato growers in Canada reacted with relief and optimism to news out of Washington Thursday that an end to the export ban to the United States is in sight. Canada’s agriculture minister said she’s optimistic that shipments of Island potatoes will start to head to Puerto Rico within two weeks, and the mainland states shortly after that.

As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, Ray Keenan, of Rollo Bay Holdings in Souris, P.E.I., called the news the “first glimmer of hope” since the border was closed on Nov. 21. Keenan’s company usually ships 40 to 50 per cent of its potatoes to the U.S.

“Here we are 10 weeks later, we’re transitioning today from no hope to promise,” Keenan said. “We do understand that there’s a bit of a time lag here to get these potatoes moving into Puerto Rico to begin with, and then hopefully later into mainland U.S.A. But this is certainly a breakthrough, to say the least.”

Other Island growers were also relieved to see progress toward lifting the ban. “We’ve already had calls, I think our buyers are more excited about it than even we are, maybe,” said Chad Robertson of Marvyn’s Garden in eastern P.E.I.

Source: CBC News. Read the full story here
Photo: Chad Robertson grows potatoes for Marvyn’s Garden in eastern P.E.I., and is on the board of the P.E.I. Potato Board. Courtesy Brady McCloskey, first published by CBC

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