The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, concluded a two-day visit to Prince Edward Island on Sunday.
March 28, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, concluded a two-day visit to Prince Edward Island on Sunday. The trip included stops in Charlottetown, Victoria, Wellington, and O’Leary to meet with farmers across the Island, and discuss the upcoming growing season and reopening of the table stock potatoes market to the United States. The visit comes at a critical time for the industry, since resuming exports of Prince Edward Island table stock potatoes into the continental United States will provide the predictability and assurance farmers need for the next potato growing season.
Recognizing the importance of strong collaboration between governments at all levels, Minister Bibeau met with Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture Bloyce Thompson in Charlottetown, where both discussed how to best support the industry moving forward. In addition, they also took the opportunity to discuss the Next Agricultural Policy Framework, which will play an important role in Canada’s commitment to tackling climate change and creating a sustainable future in Canadian agriculture.
Minister Bibeau also met with Ray and Alvin Keenan of Rollo Bay Holdings, a family run potato growing and packaging operation located in Souris, and a major player in retail and food service for over 70 years.
After meeting with Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, to discuss priorities for the capital, Minister Bibeau was joined by Heath MacDonald, Member of Parliament for Malpeque, to meet with John Visser, Chairman of the PEI Potato Board, and a group of growers. During tours of Mr. Visser’s farm and the Thompson Potato Company in Victoria, potato growers shared with Minister Bibeau how the closure of the United States market has impacted their operations and their priorities going forward.
The Minister then travelled to Wellington and O’Leary, accompanied by Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont, where she toured Urbainville Farms and J&J Farms, to learn about their unique approaches to potato farming and their visions for the future.
Minister Bibeau concluded her trip back in Charlottetown where she had a productive meeting with the PEI Potato Board about how to best position the Island’s potato industry for success in the short and long term.
Prince Edward Island has a long history of producing the highest quality potatoes for Canadians and international consumers. The Government of Canada will continue to stand up for Prince Edward Island potato farmers who are integral to their communities and our economy.
“The meetings with Prince Edward Island potato growers this past weekend provided an opportunity for open discussions that were appreciated by both sides. I am confident that by continuing to work together constructively with the Potato Board and the province, we will ensure the industry adapts and rebounds”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
The United States is a major destination for Prince Edward Island potatoes, with approximately $103.4 million of total Prince Edward Island table stock and processing potato exports in 2020.
On March 24, 2022, the Government of Canada announced that the United States will soon resume imports of Prince Edward Island table stock potatoes into the continental United States with conditions.
This decision follows several months of technical discussions between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, through which the Agency shared scientific information and reports to support Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’ risk assessment exercise to enable the resumption of trade. This included scientific data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s investigation of the recent potato wart detections, clear risk mitigation measures, the results from our national survey for potato wart, and information related to the implementation of Potato Wart Domestic Long Term Management plan.
On February 8, 2022, the United States Department of Agriculture announced the resumption of trade in table stock potatoes from Prince Edward Island to Puerto Rico. This was an important step in restoring United States market access for Prince Edward Island, as exports of Prince Edward Island table stock potatoes to Puerto Rico were valued at $12 million in 2020.
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food