P.E.I. Shipping to Make Up for Low Yields

Island production fell 8 percent after dry summer.

Published online: Dec 11, 2017 Articles
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Source: CBC News

Prince Edward Island has seen a lower potato crop yield than usual this year and has been forced to ship in spuds from other areas of the country to make up for it.?

The province remains Canada’s heaviest hitter in terms of potato production, producing roughly 25 percent of the country’s annual yield.

However, dry weather conditions over the summer reduced Island crop yield by about 8 percent this year—the largest drop among major growing regions in Canada.

Kevin MacIsaac, general manger of the United Potato Growers of Canada, says western P.E.I. took the brunt of this year’s dry spell. He says eastern P.E.I. received enough rainfall to keep production levels near normal.

“Mother Nature still controls a big part of the farmers’ well-being and their ability to produce a crop,” he says.

“It’s not a question of acreage being planted, or that kind of scenario. It’s more about what the season brings, and that’s what the season brought this year.”

Most major potato-growing provinces in Canada had a steady production year, with Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick experiencing surpluses again. In response to P.E.I.’s lower yield, Cavendish Farms has had to import potatoes from as far as away as Alberta to make up for the shortage.

MacIsaac says it’s costly to ship potatoes from that far away and that processors will have to cover that cost.

“Companies took the initiative to purchase those potatoes and get those moved to P.E.I.,” he says. “The ones in Manitoba are probably not all spoken for yet, so we expect that will happen throughout the season.”

MacIsaac says P.E.I. processors could look for potatoes, if need be, from the U.S.