The Government of Canada has secured market access for Alberta seed potatoes to Thailand.
Effective immediately, Alberta becomes the third province to have an export agreement with Thailand, joining Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, both of which secured export agreements in 2009. Combined, these three provinces form about 76 per cent of Canada’s seed potato exports. Alberta’s seed potato exports to Thailand could be worth up to $2 million annually, according to industry experts, adding to the $5 million on average exported annually to that country. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the seed potato sector.
Alberta is a major seed potato producing province and lead seed exporter for Canada. Alberta’s seed potato growers produced over 128,000 metric tonnes of seed potatoes in 2015. The province’s potato industry as a whole contributes over $1 billion to the economy annually.
“The Potato Growers of Alberta are pleased to have worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to profile our seed industry to Thailand officials and to receive approval to export seed to their country,” says Deb Hart, seed potato coordinator with the Potato Growers of Alberta. “Alberta has a very innovative and progressive seed potato industry and is looking forward to the opportunity to grow low virus, high quality seed varieties requested by the Thai potato industry.”
Canada has been a world leader in seed potato production for more than 90 years, and is the fifth largest seed potato exporter in the world.