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PEI potato farmers head to Ottawa

PEI potato farmers head to Ottawa

Caption: The MacKay family—(L-R) Everleigh, Harleigh, Susan, Elliott, Robyn and Thatcher MacKay—of Prince Edward Island were on hand to help pack and send potatoes on the PEI Potato Truck to Ottawa.

By Andrew Joseph,

There’s nothing wrong with PEI’s potatoes.

That’s the message the PEI potato industry wants to reiterate to Federal politicians via a coalition of grassroots groups supporting farmers in light of suspension of its potatoes to the US market, a decision made two weeks ago by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

After two detections of potato wart were found in PEI fields already under a Domestic Management Plan in October 2021, the CFIA’s decision to halt all exports of the province’s potato crop to the entire US market—some $120 million—cripples its industry.

The Management Plan was put in place by the CFIA as a preventative measure to prevent the spread of potato wart through all of PEI and any market destinations.

However, since the initial discovery of the potato wart in PEI in the year 2000, there has been zero incidents of it in any market—US or Canada—attributable to the PEI crop.  

Needless to say, the entire PEI potato industry is up in arms about the trade decision.

To continue its efforts to show that the PEI potato crop is safe—those already monitored fields not withstanding—the farmers are bringing their concerns to Ottawa in the form of 6,000 bags of fresh, beautiful PEI potatoes.

A semi carrying the potatoes departed Charlottetown to make the 1,300 kilometre trek to Ottawa where it will meet with representatives from the PEI potato industry—representatives from Island’s potato farms and provincial government and industry leaders—to give away the bags to the general public to show its safety and to highlight its ongoing concerns over the export ban to the US.  

Expected to arrive on December 8, 2021, the giveaway et al will take place at 11AM local time at a still to be determined location near Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

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