Published online: Jan 23, 2007
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Some Prince Edward Island potato growers see little advantage in reducing production as long as growers in other areas step in and increase their market share.

More than 200 potato producers attended a meeting held by the PEI Potato Board to discuss a plan to remove 10,000 acres from production to improve prices.

Board chairman Kevin MacIsaac said the proposal would require licences for producers, a permanent acreage cap and a buy-down program to permanently remove acres from potato production.

One grower said that while PEI had made an honest effort to control production by reducing yields and shoring up a good price for producers, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and the state of Maine had not.

He said P.E.I. could be reducing itself right out of the market.

PEI growers supported an acreage reduction of 9,500 acres in 2005 and 8,500-acres last year but the meeting heard it was time to look to see what other areas are willing to do.

The cost for the proposed buy-down program would range from C$800 to C$1,000 an acre, something that concerned a number of growers.

They asked what would happen if new processing contracts be secured and were told a grower could purchase the area needed from the pool of 106,000 acres of potato growing land that remained.

Growers also were concerned a production area cap would make it difficult to attract new farmers as those wanting to enter the industry would have to purchase acreage at between C$800 and C$1,000 an acre.