Published online: Feb 20, 2008 Alan Harman
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The Canadian government has announced improvements to its golden nematode disaster program to provide more flexible and responsive support to affected potato growers in the St-Amable area of Quebec.

Secretary of State for Agriculture Christian Paradis says the government is acting to help the growers deal with the immediate transition costs.

"This support is necessary so that farmers can continue operating their farms and move forward," Paradis says.

The program changes mean growers will receive direct payments to cover a range of extraordinary costs they have incurred as a result of the discovery of golden nematode and the measures introduced by the government to control the spread of the pest.

The changes also apply to an affected farm outside of the original boundary established by the program. This farm will now be eligible for all components of the disaster program.

Agriculture Minister Strahl originally announced in December that growers from St-Amable, Quebec, affected by the golden nematode infections will be compensated for losses occurred during the outbreak last summer.

Strahl indicated that C$5.4 million was allocated for the 28 affected producers in the area under the federal government's golden nematode disaster program.

The Canadian Food inspection Agency had confirmed last August that the golden nematode potato pest was detected on a 30-acre farm about 12 miles east of Montreal.