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P.E.I. potato farm reps hand out spuds in Ottawa to highlight export ban to U.S.

The Canadian Press   

Food Food & Beverage food food and beverage maintenance manufacturing ottawa potato farm US

OTTAWA – Representatives from Prince Edward Island farms handed out potatoes to the public today in front of Parliament Hill, to show gratitude to their supporters and raise awareness of the effects of the export ban on Island spuds to the United States.

Two weeks ago, the Canadian government said it would suspend all shipments of fresh potatoes from the Island to the U.S. after the recent discovery of a fungus, called potato wart, growing on two potato farms.

John Visser, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board and a potato farmer, says he hopes decision-makers will take notice of this effort and resolve the trade issue quickly.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, who visited the event, says the government will pursue a scientific discussion with the U.S., with the objective of reassuring them as quickly as possible because Canada’s fresh potatoes are “definitely safe for everyone.”

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Also in attendance was P.E.I. Premier Dennis King, who says the gesture was a demonstration of importance of the industry to the Island, adding that when the industry hurts, “everyone hurts.”

The U.S. market is worth about $120 million dollars annually to the Island’s potato industry.

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