ASSISTANCE PROGRAM EXPANDED
The Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island are improving access to the P.E.I. Potato Assistance Program to help farmers get back on their feet after flooding in 2008. Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced recently that the program has been extended to help farmers who had to destroy product that spoiled in storage and for cleaning and disinfecting storage bins and equipment.
"Farmers in P.E.I. continue to feel the impacts of last year's flooding and our Conservative Government is working to ensure they have the help they need to recover," said Minister Ritz. "Extending these changes to program eligibility will help Island farmers disinfect equipment and destroy rotten potatoes and other produce."
Extreme wet weather in 2008 resulted in a large percent of the P.E.I. potato crop being severely damaged. Last fall, assistance was provided to potato producers to help with the costs of disposing of unharvested potatoes. Despite these efforts, some spoilage occurred after harvest.
"Our Government is aware that the horticulture industry has been hit hard by flooding and the current economic downturn," said Minister Shea, who also serves as Regional Minister for P.E.I. and Member of Parliament for Egmont. "I'm pleased to see both levels of government working together with industry to help potato and vegetable producers rebuild their farms."
Producers will receive payment of one cent per pound to help with the cost of disposing spoiled product as well as an additional one cent per pound to help pay for the cleaning and disinfection of equipment and storage areas that have been contaminated. This assistance is cost-shared on a 60/40 basis by federal and provincial governments under AgriRecovery.
The agriculture and agri-food industry in Prince Edward Island contributed $542 million to the Island GDP in 2008 with more than $391 million in farm cash receipts.
For more information, producers can contact the Agriculture Insurance Corporation at 902-368-4842.