Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, spoke to growers from across the country at the Canadian Horticultural Council AGM in Ottawa and announced a federal investment of over $2.3 million to support the Canadian Horticultural Council's research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million.
The purpose of the project is to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying, which results in premature aging, limiting potato yield by as much as 50 per cent. As part of the project, the Canadian Horticulture Council will survey potato fields to determine the levels of PED and evaluate the control of PED through growers' cropping systems, best management practices and control products.
With this new funding, the federal government has invested a total of $13.8 million in Canada's horticulture research cluster, which is giving farmers cutting-edge technologies and practices for better pest management, better handling of produce, and improved soil health. The research cluster is also developing new sustainable practices to reduce the environmental footprint as well as new crop varieties to keep our growers competitive.
In her speech, Minister Bibeau expanded on her Government's plan to support growers and help them grow their businesses. Beyond the significant investments into research and science, this includes helping farmers get the qualified workers they need in a more timely way. It also includes working with the provinces and territories to improve business risk management programs, and helping producers take full advantage of all the market opportunities that have resulted from the Government's strong agenda for trade.