Potatoes in Canada

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After hundreds of millions of pounds of potatoes destroyed, PEI farms open their doors


March 23, 2022
By Potatoes In Canada

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As of March 4, the total estimate for PEI potatoes destroyed is close to 300 million pounds, according to the P.E.I. Potato Board.

The destruction is the result of the ongoing potato wart crisis, which has seen millions of pounds of potatoes unable to be shipped to U.S. markets. Potato wart was confirmed in two different P.E.I fields, and although the U.S. has lifted the embargo on table stock potatoes to be imported into Puerto Rico, P.E.I. potatoes are still unable to be exported to the U.S. [Editor’s note: The continental U.S. will soon resume imports of P.E.I. table stock potatoes.]

Some mitigation measures have been put into place in order to mitigate the destruction of potatoes including the Surplus Potato Management Response Plan, which aims to assist farmers with environmentally sound destruction of potatoes and divert other potatoes to processors, food banks and more.

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On Feb. 26, P.E.I. farms opened their warehouses to welcome residents to fill up their bags with free potatoes at five different locations across the province in the “Come Fill Your Boots” event. More than 5,000 guests brought home more than 150,000 lbs of potatoes, and $8,350 was donated to local food banks.

Nevertheless, according to the P.E.I. Potato Board, nearly 300 million pounds of potatoes have been destroyed via spreading in fields for shredding by snowblowers.

“Although potatoes are also being distributed to food banks across the country, there’s still so many left we cannot sell because the U.S. border remains closed,” said Randy Visser, the event organizer and a participating farmer, in a statement.