NewsBusinessFederal Government Announces Surplus Spuds Program for P.E.I.

Federal Government Announces Surplus Spuds Program for P.E.I.

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Growers in Prince Edward Island now have more details on how the federal government will offer support to them for their surplus potatoes, a Feb. 1 news release says.

The Surplus Potato Management Response plan will see the federal government provide up to $28 million and the provincial government up to $12.2 million in order to divert as many potatoes as possible. The release notes growers will receive up to 8.5 cents per pound to assist with the costs of environmentally-sound destruction of surplus potatoes.

“Growers really appreciate the funding, and how hard provincial officials have worked to get this in place. Yet, it’s really important to understand that this will not come close to what farmers would have received at market, or necessarily save farms,” Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, says in a release. “The funding will offset some costs, but farmers are still left with huge financial losses, not to mention the loss of markets and the overwhelming uncertainty in planning for next year.”

Since November, potato exports to the United States and Puerto Rico from P.E.I. have been halted after potato wart was discovered for the second year in a row on the Island. This has left growers on the Island with 3 million cwt unsellable spuds — just over 10 per cent of P.E.I.’s total 2021 production.

Its estimated 2.90 million cwt (290 million pounds) of potatoes will be diverted to processors, packers, dehydrators, food banks and other markets, the release notes. The P.E.I. Potato Board will deliver the plan on behalf of the governments.

“Funding is appreciated, but what we ultimately need is for the federal minister to remove the suspension and permit P.E.I. potatoes to go across the U.S. border, just like they are going across this country. We also need the Ministerial Order amended to cover only regulated fields going forward,” John Visser, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board, says in a news release.

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