Potatoes from the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island are once again rolling down the highway to the United States, with the first truckloads arriving in the Boston area Tuesday morning. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, exporters began loading their trucks on Monday, three days after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the potatoes would be permitted south of the border and four months after the ban was first imposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Rabobank’s RaboResearch – Food & Agribusiness team released this research report recently. They say that higher fertilizer prices and/or a shortage of fertilizer supply resulting from the war in Ukraine will not have an immediate impact on food prices and/or food production. The first crop-growing regions to be ‘at risk’ are India and Latin America. India is partially out of danger, but Latin America is highly exposed.
The National Potato Council (NPC) in the U.S. yesterday released the following statement in response to a joint announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Mexico Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos that, according to the agreed workplan, the entire Mexican market would be open no later than May 15 for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes.
APHIS issues final federal order for import of P.E.I. table potatoes, CFIA preparing to certify exports soon
On Friday the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued its final federal order on Prince Edward Island potato imports, clearing the way for exports from the Canadian province. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) welcomed the news.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly market report that many growers will be forced to cut back on planted acreage of 2022 crops due to input costs. Growers currently storing potatoes are experiencing significant costs due to the rise in energy, these spiralling costs must be recognised and paid for by potato packers and retailers.
Calls are growing for USDA to step in and resolve potato trade issues in Mexico. An agreement was reached late last year to reopen the market after 20 years of efforts to gain access. However, setbacks continue to arise in the process. National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles recently spoke with RFD-TV’s Janet Adkison on how things stand today.
Prince Edward Island potato farmers got a visit from the federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on Saturday, March 26, who told them seed potato growers will be waiting at least another year for good news on the reopening of the market for exports to the U.S. “…the market will not open this year, and probably not next year as well,” she said.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, yesterday issued the following statement regarding the announcement that the United States will soon resume imports of Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into the continental U.S. with reasonable science-based conditions.
A deal to export 2,000t of Scottish seed potatoes to Russia has been scrapped by PepsiCo following criticism of the arrangement. As Ed Henderson reports for Farmers Weekly, the company said “a couple of lorries” had already left Scottish farms this week, but following discussion with growers, the decision had been made to stop future shipments.
The National Potato Council (NPC) in the U.S. today released a statement in response to USDA’s announcement that trade in table stock potatoes would resume between Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, and the United States. “We are dismayed to learn that USDA is allowing PEI table stock potatoes to resume shipments to the U.S. prior to completing soil tests for the destructive potato wart disease,” NPC says.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that Canada is expected to soon resume exporting Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into the contiguous United States. USDA says as a result of the U.S. and Canada reaching an understanding about the risk of table stock potato imports from PEI, Canada will lift its ban while APHIS plans to publish a federal order outlining additional required mitigations to protect the U.S. potato industry.
Seed potato exporters have been told “very clearly” they should disinvest from Russia, a minister has said, following reports that 2000 tonnes of Scottish produce will be sent there. As Emer O’Toole reports for The National, Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, said “We’ve led calls for businesses to disinvest from Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.”
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, potato markets have been somewhat resistant with uncertainty expected for the coming recent weeks, North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says in a news release earlier today. “Producers need to realize that, despite this very significant crisis, our European countries (and others around the world) will continue to need potatoes and potato products in the future,” NEPG says.
The Scottish government sparked fury after it approved a deal by PepsiCo to send seed potatoes to be planted Russia. In a £600,000 deal with Aberdeen’s Saltire Seed, 2,000 tons of seed potatoes will be delivered to Russian farmers by a convoy of 100 lorries.
U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Angus King (I-Maine) and U.S. Congressmen Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) led 30 of their Congressional colleagues in potato-producing states in a bipartisan, bicameral letter calling on the USDA to press its counter-agency in Mexico to honor and expedite the U.S.-Mexico trade deal restoring U.S. fresh potato exports to Mexico.
Earlier this week (16 March) the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development held an “Exchange of views on the disruption in the EU-GB trade in seed potatoes” to which Europatat was invited to speak. Europatat used this opportunity to highlight the impact of there being no agreement on the European potato supply chain.
Potato growers in Scotland face the greatest uncertainty in years as input costs have rocketed but markets remain stagnant – so growing the crop this year will be a major ‘gamble’. Graham Twatt, Easter Cushnie, summed it up: “This is the most challenging time in farming we have ever seen.
Prince Edward Island potatoes may have been shut out of their biggest export market in the U.S., but they’re still finding a way to make a difference elsewhere. P.E.I. potatoes have been on the menu at many food banks across the country while exports to the U.S. mainland remain suspended.
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, JohnVisser’s farm is one of 130 farms that has applied under a federal government program that provides financial assistance for the costs associated with destroying them while the ground is still frozen.
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.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has detected the presence of potato wart in a third field in Prince Edward Island. The agency says the fungus was detected on a farm that does not produce table stock potatoes and does not export to Puerto Rico. No seed potatoes produced in 2021 left this grower’s facility.
Canada: Proposed bill would allow Manitoba potato, root growers unlimited acres, ability to sell to any buyer
The Manitoba provincial government is proposing a major revamping of the business model for potatoes and root crops. As the Manitoba Co-operator staff reports in this article, a press release issued Mar. 3, quotes Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson as saying legislation is being introduced to “… help expand the provincial table potato and root crop industry.”
While repeated negotiations over the resumption of seed potato exports from the UK to the EU has made little headway, a leading civil servant told delegates there was another avenue to be explored. Professor Gerry Saddler, Scotland’s chief plant health officer, told Scottish Agronomy’s annual conference in Perth that an arrangement which allows limited amounts of Canadian seed potatoes into the EU could form a template for a Scottish deal.
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.
“We recently learned that Frito-Lay, a brand owned by giant PepsiCo Canada, stopped selling to Loblaws after the retailer refused requests by Frito-Lay to increase their prices,” writes Dr. Sylvain Charlebois in an article published by Troy Media. “The rift between PepsiCo and Loblaws is long overdue. And make no mistake: many other manufacturers and grocers are involved in similar tug-of-war disputes.”
Central Plains Group (CPG), a Scottish-based farming company, has boosted exports of specialist agricultural equipment and potato seeds after receiving a £2.2 million package from UK Export Finance (UKEF) and Credit Agricole. CPG is now harvesting 40,000 tonnes of potatoes in its operations in Ukraine thanks to the deal and can fulfil several multimillion-pound contracts across Eastern Europe.
Frito-Lay Canada stopped shipping its snack-food brands to the country’s biggest grocery retailer this week amidst a pricing dispute. Frito-Lay, owned by Pepsi-Co, said it was trying to pass on some of the increased costs from supply chain woes companies have faced during COVID-19.
Shutting down U.S. fresh potato industry expectations for expanded access in early 2022, the government of Mexico has raised new hurdles to access. USDA officials disclosed Mexico’s new demands Feb. 17 during a web seminar with industry officials, said Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council.