PEI Ponders What To Do With Potatoes

Published online: Apr 13, 2004
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Potato growers at Prince Edward Island, Canada, are wondering what to do with 14 million pounds of potatoes waiting in storage to be sold.

The Canadian agriculture minister will not give growers a diversion program with a payback. He also said the government will not step in and control planting.

Island growers are watching their Maine neighbors who received $750,000 from the state's Natural Resource Conservation Service funds to pay for cull potato disposal. Maine had more spoiled potatoes this year because of diseases and the NRCS offered growers some relief.

PEI growers have requested expanded processing without increased acreage and that the provincial governments re-establish quality inspections. Again, the Ag Minister said the inspections should be dealt with by the industry.

Island growers did agree to take some positive action by assessing themselves a one-cent per load charge for marketing and promotion over the next three years.

Another positive item for PEI growers is the fact seed sales are climbing and the visual pass rate is up to 97 percent. This is up from 79 percent five years ago.