Potatoes in Canada

Upgraded Manitoba facility will allow for innovative potato storage research

January 27, 2023  By Top Crop Manager

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $98,970 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to upgrade the University of Manitoba’s horticulture storage facility so it can conduct innovative potato research, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced today.

“Ensuring that our scientists have the tools they need to conduct their research is essential to support the resilience and competitiveness of the agricultural sector,” said Bibeau. “The work being accomplished in these potato storage facilities will help producers reduce food waste on their farms. In the end, this research should allow for the reduction of pollution and an increase in revenue.”

“Our government is proud to continue supporting research that accelerates the sustainable growth and competitiveness of Manitoba’s agricultural, agri-food and agri-product sectors,” said Johnson. “Potatoes are the fourth most valuable crop in Manitoba and are estimated to generate $1 billion per year for the provincial economy. Research and innovation are critical to developing new approaches that improve the potato sector.”

The investment will allow researchers to conduct post-harvest potato storage research that will be representative of on-farm storage at potato producer operations. The upgraded storage facility will be able to control environmental conditions, including carbon dioxide levels, temperature and humidity, Johnson noted.

The upgraded facility will also align with other international research facilities and will be able to create more training and capacity-building opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as the university strengthens partnerships with producers and processors in the potato sector, Johnson added.

“Thanks to the support from governments of Manitoba and Canada, this much-needed infrastructure renewal will help our researchers solve real-world challenges in the storage and management of potatoes,” said Martin Scanlon, dean, faculty of agricultural and food sciences, University of Manitoba. “Equally important is the training and development of highly qualified professionals that this facility will provide to benefit the future of the potato industry in Manitoba and beyond.”

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

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