OTTAWA, January 23, 2009--Alberta will be able to resume the export of seed potatoes to the U.S. as of Jan. 28, 2009.
The Government of Canada is pleased to announce that it has taken all actions necessary to comply fully with U.S. import requirements for Alberta seed potatoes.
"This Government has once more delivered for Canadian farmers. We worked hard with domestic producers to have the U.S. re-open its market to Alberta seed potatoes and we have succeeded," said Gerry Ritz, minister of agriculture and agri-food and minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.
"We look forward to working with the new U.S. Administration to maintain and ensure harmonized trade of potatoes."
Following the detection of potato cyst nematode (PCN) in 2007, the Government of Canada took a number of actions to ensure compliance with U.S. import requirements, including completing a delimiting survey (soil sampling) of the two farm units in Alberta associated with the PCN detections, in collaboration with Alberta potato producers.
All soil samples were negative for the plant pest.
The U.S. market is now open to all Canadian seed potatoes that meet PCN Phytosanitary Guidelines. This does not include potatoes produced in regulated areas. These guidelines will soon be amended based on recommendations contained in a 2008 Independent International Science Panel report on PCN.
The amendments will be made jointly by the CFIA and USDA in full consultation with industry representatives.
Potato cyst nematodes are recognized internationally as quarantine plant pests; however, they do not pose a threat to human health.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring continued market access for Canadian seed potatoes while working to protect the sector against the spread of PCN.