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U.S. expected to make decision on potato wart issue by March 10

The Prince Edward Island potato industry in Canada has its fingers crossed for good news before the end of this week. Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau indicated in a number of media interviews in early March she was expecting an answer from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on when Island potatoes could once again flow south by March 10, according to a report by Andy Walker, published by Island Farmer.

According to Walker, the general manager of the PEI Potato Board said the minister reiterated that date in a meeting he held with her March 2, while he was in Ottawa attending the annual meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. The border has been closed since November 22 of last year, when Bibeau issued a ministerial order that indicated the province was infested with potato wart.

However, Greg Donald said he was given no indication of what that announcement might entail. When the agriculture secretary gave permission for shipments to resume to Puerto Rico, producers found themselves with the added expense of making labels indicating the potatoes were only for consumption on the Caribbean Island and could not be shipped to the American mainland.

The general manager said the industry remains frustrated by the fact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continue to treat the matter as a technical issue rather than a trade problem. 

Source: Island Farmer. Read the full story here
Photo: Greg Donald

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