Exports of table potatoes from Prince Edward Island to the United States resume with immediate effect.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) changed its requirements for importing table potatoes from PEI on Friday.
The news comes after an announcement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency last week which indicated that the authority would lift its ban on exporting PEI tables or eating potatoes – but not seeds or processing potatoes – with conditions.
Minister for Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau spoke Main street host Matt Rainnie on Friday afternoon shortly after the news came.
“It’s good news for our food potatoes to see the market open to the US mainland,” Bibeau said.
“The potato industry is so important, it’s part of your identity … when we can see [potatoes] Leaving the island and going to the United States will be great. “
Island farmers have said that an estimated 300 million pounds of potatoes would need to be destroyed this winter.
Friday’s announcement also means that bags shipped to Puerto Rico no longer need to be marked, Bibeau said, and shipments are no longer limited in size.
“We can now send these potatoes in packages or in bulk as well, so that’s good news for … farmers on the island.”
Exports of seed potatoes are still not expected to resume until 2023. Bibeau said the investigation is ongoing and Ottawa will continue to work with seed producers to see how they can receive support in the meantime.
“It’s extremely difficult for seed growers, but let’s take the good news for table growers today,” she said.
“Seed potatoes are meant to be planted, so the risk for them is greater – so that’s why we have to complete the investigation. We will continue to work closely, see how we can support them in terms of the loss from last year and also see what opportunities they can ha and how we can support you … we will work together to find a clear path forward. “
Terms of import
The CFIA said last week that the United States would require PEI potatoes, as well as the seed potatoes used to produce them, “derived from fields not known to be infested with potato blight or associated with known infestations.”
Other conditions state that PEI potatoes must be:
- Washed and sprouted.
- Graded to meet US No. 1 standard.
- Officially inspected by the National Plant Protection Organization of Canada and certified to meet USDA requirements.
Transportation of fresh potatoes to the United States and its territory Puerto Rico, and eventually the rest of Canada, was halted after the discovery of potato warts on two island fields in October.
The CFIA stopped deliveries of seeds and ware potatoes to the United States in November, prompted by a US threat to act if Canada did not do so. Canadian officials were worried that a US measure would be more difficult to reverse.
Ours is a fungus that distorts potatoes so that it is unsaleable and reduces the harvest, but which does not pose a health risk to humans.
The PEI Potato Board estimates trade with the United States would have been $ 120 million this season.