Potatoes in Canada

News Business & Policy Business Management
Minister Bibeau issues statement on surplus potato destruction


On Feb. 10, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) released a statement on behalf of minister of agriculture and agri-food Marie-Claude Bibeau, addressing the destruction of surplus potatoes due to major economic disruptions.

“P.E.I. farmers put everything that they have into their crops and many families’ livelihoods depend on this industry. I know the disruption to trade due to the United States’ concerns over potato wart has touched the lives of so many Islanders, from multi-generational family farms, to packers, processors, shippers, and more.

What should have been a great year for P.E.I.—a bumper crop and favourable market conditions—has turned into an incredibly difficult one.”

Advertisement

Difficulties in the past several months have mainly centred around the U.S. halting imports of P.E.I. potatoes due to the discovery of potato wart in November.

“While restored trade with Puerto Rico will bring relief to some farmers, the border remains closed to many. We know there is more work ahead, and that is why we will continue to engage at every level with the Americans to further restore trade for P.E.I. potatoes to the United States. Unfortunately, we have come to the point where some of the surplus potatoes are starting to be destroyed.”

Bibeau said that AAFC is diverting “as many potatoes as possible” to other locations including food banks, dehydration plants, processors and other markets “to minimize the amount of surplus potatoes that must be destroyed.” For potatoes that cannot be diverted, producers will receive up to 8.5 cents per pound.

“To P.E.I. farmers, and to all Islanders, please know that we are doing all in our power to support you and restore trade. I will not rest until the U.S. border is re-opened to P.E.I. potatoes.”