Prince Edward Island farmers are excited to hear that the ban on potato exports to the continental United States finally appears to be coming to an end, but growers are still awaiting details on what this recovery will commercial will result.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said in a statement Thursday that table potatoes from Prince Edward Island will soon be permitted in the United States. United.
The announcement is good news for farmers, who have been unable to ship their produce south of the border since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency halted exports in November.
“[It’s] really good news to hear,” Jason Webster of MWM Farms told Kinkora. “We will all wait and see here when the first load of potatoes crosses the border. We really hope it will be days, not weeks.”
Webster said he hopes to hear full details on when trade can resume soon so farmers can plan for the spring planting season with “some confidence”.
During an interview with CBC News: CompassAgriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she spoke with her US counterpart Tom Vilsack on Thursday and he said the borders could reopen “in a few days”.
But some important details have yet to be released. APHIS said release trade could only resume under “specified conditions” that prevent the introduction of the potato wart into the United States.
Bibeau said the new US requirements could be “more specific” about where potatoes come from.
“We hope to hear from them in the next few days,” Webster said.
“We hope that we can work to make [P.E.I.’s potato wart management system] suit everyone in the future. And, you know, everything needs to be tweaked as we go along and we’ll definitely want to do that.”
“You have to believe in the system”
Ray Keenan of Rollo Bay Holdings said the recovery in trade appears to be on time based on what the United States previously indicated when it left PEI potato exports to Puerto Rico resume.
“We have to believe in the system,” he said. “It works, but it works slowly. And it did.”
In the meantime, Keenan said farmers face other factors such as high fertilizer and fuel costs.
“It will definitely be the most expensive potato crop ever grown in North America,” he said.
“Given the supply of potatoes we still have on hand, we need a long enough track here to move the rest of this crop. And we should hope – and hope is not a plan – that we have to work to get many of these potatoes to the United States
“The American market is where these potatoes are needed for the foreseeable future. And there is a home for them, if we can find the means of transportation.”