b"Piles of Potato Wart ProblemsP.E.I. potato growers are struggling after U.S. potato exports were halted following a potato wart discovery.BY: ASHLEY ROBINSONFOR JOHN VISSER, he knew something was wrong when he applied for a phytosanitary certificate from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to export his seed potatoes to Uruguay.It was Oct. 28, 2021, and usually it would take a few days for the CFIA to grant the certificate. After more than 40 years of shipping seed potatoes from Victoria Potato Farm in Victoria, P.E.I. to Uruguay, the process was something Visser could do in his sleep.At that point we knew something was off a little, but didn't really know why. And so then, after about two and a half weeks of talking back and forth, and we were talking to people in Uruguay a lot, Visser, who is the chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, explains in a phone interview. (We learned) we couldn't ship them. And the shipping window was over for us.Earlier in the month, Synchytrium endobioticum, the soil-borne fungus which causes potato wart, had been discovered in two fields in P.E.I. The Potato Wart Domestic Long-Term Management Plan immediately went into effect and all those in the P.E.I. potato industry thought that was it handled. Vissers instincts that something more was happening were right, although he couldnt have imagined how bad it was. On Nov. 21, 2021, the Canadian government made a Ministerial Order to suspend the export of all P.E.I. potatoes to the United States. The decision stunned the P.E.I. potato industry and locked them out of the $120 million annual market. I couldn't really believe that they John Visser stands next to a pile of unsellable potatoes on Victoria Potato Farmwould be doing this because there's ain Victoria, P.E.I.PHOTO: VICTORIA POTATO FARM6SPUDSMART.COM Winter 2022"