North America, Trade/Markets/Prices

Export ban: Prince Edward Island’s potato waste ‘weighs heavy’

While the first shipments of fresh Island potatoes have made their way to Puerto Rico, the task of destroying millions of spuds is well underway as the US border closure enters its fourth month. As Charlotte MacAulay and Andy Walker reports for The Eastern Graphic, the PEI Potato Board is managing the destruction of what is expected to be 300 million pounds of now surplus potatoes on behalf of the provincial and federal governments.

Producers will receive 8.5 cents per pound, which is a far cry from the 18-20 cents per pound they previously received in the marketplace. Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau issued the ministerial order on November 22 of last year that stopped all fresh Island potatoes going south as well as all Island seed shipments within Canada.

Kevin MacAulay Farms – MacAulay Organic Produce Inc owner Kevin MacAulay, said the border opening to Puerto Rico is a step forward, but it does nothing for his operation. His markets are all in the continental US. Mr MacAulay has been a farmer all his life, dealing exclusively in potatoes since 1985.

The time frame for dumping the potatoes is very short. Under the terms of the program, all potatoes must be chopped up by snowblower and spread on fields by the end of February. “We are taking quite a loss,” Mr MacAulay said.

Source: The Eastern Graphic. Read the full story here
Photo: Kevin MacAulay had to destroy thousands of pounds of potatoes that would have gone to markets in the continental US. The Souris Line Road farmer holds out some hope his organic crop will be saved if the US border opens by March 1. Photo courtesy Charlotte MacAulay via The Eastern Graphic

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