Prince Edward Island potato growers are receiving $28 million in federal funding to support them through the current trade disruption, a Dec. 20 news release from the government says.
The funding will used to support the diversion of surplus potatoes, including help to redirect surplus potatoes to organizations addressing food insecurity and support for the environmentally-sound disposal of surplus potatoes. It’ll also support marketing activities and will help industry to develop long-term strategies to manage future challenges, the release says.
“Our government understands the importance of potatoes for Prince Edward Island’s economy. Many families’ livelihoods depend on this industry,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release. “We are doing all that is in our power to re-open the American market and support producers.”
P.E.I. potato growers are currently stuck with excess supplies of potatoes after exports to the United States were halted due to the discovery of potato wart on the Island.
The release notes Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will work the provincial government, P.E.I. Potato Board, national food bank organizations and other stakeholder groups to deliver the funding. More details on the funding will be made available in the coming weeks.
The release also notes growers have access to other Business Risk Management (BRM) programs and the AgriStability program. Farm Credit Canada has also announced flexibility on loans.
Government-Industry Potato Working Group
Fred Gorrell has been asked to be the new co-chair of the Potato Working Group, the release says. Gorrell is well known in the sector and has years of experience as a former assistant deputy minister of AAFC and leader of the market access secretariat.