North America, Pests and Diseases, Trade/Markets/Prices

Potato ban: Almost 70 per cent of Prince Edward Island potato farmers destroyed crops

Across Canada’s Prince Edward Island province in Canada, around 300 million pounds of potatoes have been destroyed by farmers due to the border troubles between Canada and the U.S. The chair of the P.E.I. potato board, John Visser’s farm is one of 130 farms that has applied under a federal government program that provides financial assistance for the costs associated with trucking potatoes out to a field and destroying them while the ground is still frozen.

As Stu Neatby reports for Saltwire in this news story, these 130 farms represent 66 per cent of all potato farmers on P.E.I., according to the P.E.I. Potato Board. The deadline to destroy potatoes under the program expired on March 4.

Exports to the U.S. were halted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) after potato wart was discovered in two fields last October. Many potatoes growers have argued the halt was unnecessary due to the longstanding requirement that all fresh potatoes be washed, scrubbed and sprayed with sprout inhibitor.

These measures, farmers like Visser believe, almost nullify the risk of spread of the pest off-island. The bitter irony for farmers like Visser is that there is a demand for P.E.I. potatoes across North America. Other regions like the Canadian Prairies had weak growing seasons due to drought-like conditions last summer.

Source: Saltwire. Read the full story here
Photo: A tractor equipped with a snowblower runs through truckloads of potatoes in a field near Tryon on Prince Edward Island, owned by John Visser of Victoria Potato Farm Inc. on February 15. Credit and courtesy Stu Neatby / Saltwire

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