PEI potato farmers facing financial troubles and anxiety at start of new cropping season

After potato wart was detected in two Prince Edward Island fields last fall, Canada quickly shut down most shipments of the province’s potatoes to the US, hoping to dissuade the Americans from imposing their own ban.

Potato growers on the island, who produce more spuds than those in any other province, are feeling anxious at the start of the new cropping season. Fears that the wart might be find again this year and that exports could be shut down a second time are causing many growers to cut back production and shift to other crops.

Farmers in PEI say the ripples are being felt across the rural economy. They say potatoes have helped finance community hockey rinks, church renovations, fire hall upgrades and school fundraisers. Projects like these are in jeopardy as farms are cutting their budgets.

What’s especially frustrating for some farmers here is that Cavendish Farms, a frozen French fry company that is the largest buyer of processing potatoes on PEI, also operates the farm where the wart was first discovered last fall. As a processor, the company isn’t affected by the export ban, yet it has benefited from the border closure, which has depressed local prices for the potatoes it buys.


Source: potatonewstoday.com


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