By Edzo Kok,
Potato Growers of Alberta
Alberta was unusually wet this spring, which prolonged the planting season and caused growers to finish approximately 10 days later than normal. Heavy rains right after planting resulted in some drown-outs of low-lying areas; however, many of these low spots had not even been planted due to the wet spring conditions. Growers are now counting on ideal growing conditions to make up for the extended planting season. The slight spring delay can be quickly made up with Alberta’s traditionally hot and dry summers.
The potato industry has been a leader in the crop sector in the development of food safety programs that are internationally recognized. The Canadian Horticulture Society, in collaboration with provincial potato associations, has developed and assisted in the delivery of the CanadaGAP On-Farm Food Safety Program. This program is recognized and required by almost all of the major food service suppliers, quick-service restaurants, and retail chain associations currently purchasing potatoes in Canada.
Export customers of potato processors also recognize and accept compliance with the CanadaGAP program as an assurance of on-farm food safety. The Potato Growers of Alberta fully endorsed this program and worked with its membership to ensure that every grower entering into the program had all the necessary tools to pass the rigorous third-party audit required to become certified. The PGA also assisted in the identification of financial assistance to those growers that needed to make investments in their operations to comply with the terms of the CanadaGAP program.
Consumers who purchase potatoes from CanadaGAPcertified potato producers can be assured that the produce they are purchasing has been grown and handled under the most stringent on-farm food safety guidelines. The Potato Growers of Alberta are proud to be able to offer this sense of confidence to its customers.