PEI growers concerned about future

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05 May 2022
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Ban lifted but fears of repeat prompt major decisions

GROWERS on Prince Edward Island are concerned about what the new season will bring them, after potato wart findings prompted an export ban at the end of last year.

 

After the disease, caused by the Synchytrium endobioticum fungus, was detected in two PEI fields, Canada shut down most shipments of the province’s potatoes to the United States, to dissuade the US from imposing its own ban.

 

The ban is estimated to have cost growers more than $50-million in lost revenue. Some have had regular orders cancelled, even though there were no wart findings on their farm, and many are now considering cutting their losses and moving to different crops.

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Atlantic Canada reporter Greg Mercer reported in the Globe and Mail that while the export ban ended in March, its repercussions are still being felt.

 

One grower, Andrew Smith, of Smith Farms, had been shipping around 25% of the potatoes grown on its 1,115 acres in the centre of PEI to a potato chip plant in Pittsburgh for 12 years, but was told the company was ending the business relationship.

 

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