Published online: Dec 08, 2008 Alan Harman
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Growers in Prince Edward Island facing difficulties after severe rains this fall are eligible for emergency income support through a new joint Canada-PEI Potato Assistance Program, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced.

"We worked quickly with farmers and the government of PEI to develop a response to this situation," Ritz said.

Excessively wet weather created a number of problems for PEI producers, including harvesting challenges, potatoes standing in water and disease.

"Many potato producers are facing difficulties due to the wet harvest conditions this fall," PEI Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair said. "These payments going out now will help those producers to offset some of their losses."

The payments are now being mailed to producers affected by severe rains this fall.

The C$12.4-million PEI Potato Assistance Program is jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments on a 60-40 basis.

The assistance program provides an incentive for producers not to harvest diseased or spoiled potatoes in an effort to reduce the risk of further spoilage of unaffected potatoes in storage. The program also encourages environmentally sound disposal of diseased or spoiled potatoes.

Under the program, PEI producers in AgriInsurance will receive a guaranteed payment of 75 percent of the insured value of their unharvested potatoes. In addition, all PEI potato producers will receive 1cent a pound to cover the extra costs of destroying spoiled potatoes.