Markets and Marketing
P.E.I.’s potato industry regaining its top spot
January 25, 2024 By Island Farmer
Prince Edward Island will soon resume its historical position as the source of the most trusted seed, fresh and processing potatoes anywhere in North America and beyond, says the general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board.
As reported in the Island Farmer, while the P.E.I. potato industry has suffered significant setbacks since potato wart was detected in two fields in late 2021, the industry has turned the corner and is heading towards a brighter and positive future, Greg Donald said during an interview with the Island Farmer.
“It won’t be long, when all this is said and done, we’ll be second to none. If you’re going to buy seed or fresh or processing potatoes, the most trusted place anywhere will be Prince Edward Island.”
Donald says his bold prediction is based on solid science and recent promising developments coming from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
“There will be nowhere in the world that has been tested as much as here. We haven’t been sitting on our hands … we’re working hard to improve what we’re doing, to regain that trust and confidence.
“We can tell our customers they will know exactly what they’re getting from here because we can prove it, and other places won’t be able to say that.”
The CFIA has conducted almost 50,000 tests for potato wart since the fall of 2021, with just several detections in adjacent fields associated where wart was found, and where potatoes were used for processing.
Throughout the fall of 2023, the CFIA continued with its third annual national potato wart survey. The survey included soil collection in seed potato production fields in provinces not regulated for potato wart, in addition to soil collection in unrestricted fields in P.E.I. The results of the P.E.I. element of the national survey are known and there were no new findings of potato wart on the Island.
Those encouraging test results, and recent positive CFIA initiatives, are breathing new life into the P.E.I. potato industry, says Donald.
“We have to look at the positive things. The investigation is finished, and it demonstrated that there’s a limited instance and that the existing management plan was effective. But like any good plan it needs to be updated and improved.”
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