The company will upgrade its facilities in Portage la Prairie and Carberry
By Diego Flammini
A large potato processor is investing in Manitoba’s potato industry.
On Monday, McCain Foods Canada announced $75 million in infrastructure investments for its processing facilities in Portage la Prairie and Carberry, Man.
McCain allocated $45 million to the Portage la Prairie location. The company will use the money to install a potato sorting system, as well as processing and packaging equipment. McCain will also upgrade its waste water and refrigeration systems.
The organization will spend $30 million on its Carberry facility.
Here, McCain will invest in new sampling equipment, a blanching system and improvements to the heating and cooling systems.
Representatives from Manitoba’s potato industry are happy with McCain’s announcement.
The multimillion dollar commitment shows confidence in the province’s potato farmers, said Leonard Rossnagel, director of marketing with the Seed Potato Growers Association of Manitoba.
“If McCain is willing to invest significant amounts of money into existing plants in Manitoba, it shows that our growers can produce the quality and quantity of potatoes necessary to meet the company’s needs,” he told Farms.com.
McCain’s announcement also comes at a time when Manitoba potato farmers are working through a challenging harvest.
Weather challenges mean about 5,200 acres of potatoes will go unharvested, a United Potato Growers of Canada report says.
“Many growers have come off a difficult harvest season that will leave them short of potatoes to fill their contracts and uncertain of how potatoes left in storage will fare,” Rossnagel said. “This investment assures our farmers that they’ll have industry support going forward.”
Manitoba is Canada’s second-largest potato-producing province.
Growers harvested about 62,900 of potatoes in 2017, Statistics Canada says.
Only Prince Edward Island farmers produced more that year, harvesting about 84,200 acres of potatoes.