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Alberta could become Canada’s potato capital

Alberta could become Canada’s potato capital

Production in Alberta has increased steadily since 2013

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A province in Western Canada could dethrone Prince Edward Island as the country’s top potato-producing region.

Annual spud production figures for Alberta and P.E.I. both sit around 2.23 billion pounds, a new report from ATB Financial says.

The report tracks potato production in both provinces since 1998 and found two significant changes.

“Alberta’s production is up 132 percent (in 20 years), while P.E.I.’s is down 18 per cent,” the report says.

Diversified crop production, cannabis legalization and investment into food processing facilities, like the Cavendish Farms plant in Lethbridge, Alta., have contributed to the province’s emergence as a vegetable producer.

“The way I look at it, for the Alberta economy, instead of trying to do one thing 100 per cent better, you do things 100 (each) one per cent better,” Harold Perry, a farmer from Chin, Alta., told the Calgary Eyeopener. “I think potatoes are falling in that category right now.”

Alberta appears to be on its way to surpassing P.E.I. as Canada’s potato heartland.

Growers in Alberta produced an average yield of 416 cwt per acre this year, United Potato Growers of Canada says. Growers in P.E.I. produced an average of 285 cwt per acre.

The potato figures show that Alberta is expanding its ag identity beyond just grain and beef.

They show “how diversifying the industry is working,” said Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s ag minister, HighRiver Online reported. “We’re growing more potatoes and other vegetables as well, so I’m looking forward to that as just an example of what can be done here in Alberta and how important agriculture is to the economy.”

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