May 10, 2023 By Potatoes in Canada
Terry Curley, co-owner of Monaghan Farms in Summerfield, P.E.I., had built a successful seed potato operation, growing as many as 60 per cent of the varieties used in Canada by the Frito-Lay chip company.
However, as reported by Saltwire, Curley worries the province’s seed potato sector could be a casualty of the 2021 bruising stoppage of potato shipments to the U.S., following a handful of detections of potato wart. “The bottom line is seed sales have been reduced substantially off of P.E.I. And, my opinion is that’s not coming back,” Curley said.
A ministerial order barring the export of fresh potatoes to the U.S. was lifted just over one year ago. But, restrictions on seed potatoes, grown to be planted for future crops, remain in place, effectively barring shipments off-Island. There is no clear end date in sight for the lifting of these federal restrictions.
Today, Curley grows half the amount of seed potatoes he would have two years ago. Most are destined for P.E.I. markets.
“We were poised to do significantly more into other Canadian provinces. We were building up the seed for that market,” Curley said. “That’s all dead now. They just said, ‘We don’t want it at any price.’”
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