Ottawa announces $2.8 million to help PEI potato growers cope with export restrictions

CHARLOTTETOWN – The federal government will spend $28 million to help Prince Edward Island farmers manage their growing surplus of potatoes as export restrictions in the United States continue for nearly a month.

The money will be used to build more potato processing capacity in Canada and to send some surplus to food aid organizations, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Beau said at a news conference today.

The money will help farmers look for new markets and allow them to safely dispose of their surplus potatoes this winter.

The United States potato market is worth about $120 million a year for PEI, and Bibeau says a “significant amount” of potatoes will need to be destroyed, but he did not specify the exact amount.

The minister says officials will meet with PEI Potato Board and other industry members this week to discuss how to best use the funding.

Farmers on the island have been barred from exporting potatoes to the US since November 22 after a fungal potato wart was discovered at two farms in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 20, 2021.

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This story was produced with financial support from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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