PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MANITOBA - Two additional provinces have signed on as members of the new national potato organization, United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). During the April Board of Directors meeting held recently in Toronto, Quebec and Saskatchewan joined UPGC. This means that UPGC now represents over 96 percent of the Canadian potato acreage. Other member provinces are Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
United Potato Growers of Canada was formed in February, 2006 to improve the marketing of potatoes via the development of better market information and analysis, and stronger communications and cooperation between grower organizations across the country and with their sister organization, United Potato Growers of America.
The first executive of UPGC was elected during the April meeting. They are: Chairman Garry Sloik, Manitoba; Vice Chairman Morley Wood, Prince Edward Island, and Secretary Robert Gareau, New Brunswick.
In order to bring more stability to Canadian potato markets, United Potato Growers of Canada member organizations from across the country have been encouraging potato growers to reduce their plantings in 2006 by an additional 5 percent from 2005 levels. There were acreage reductions in every province in 2005 and this, coupled with similar reductions in the U.S. and weather-related losses in both countries, resulted in much stronger returns for growers.
"We are very pleased with the progress we have made as an organization in the two short months that we have been in operation," said new UPGC Chairman Garry Sloik. "The fact that we have support from over 96 percent of the potato production across the country is exciting, and we know that at least one other province, British Columbia, has been supportive and interested in our progress to date. They've indicated that they will be sending representatives to our next meeting, and we look forward to productive discussions at that time as well."