P.E.I. potato farmers still hurting by last year's export ban to the United States

CHARLOTTETOWN — Potato farmers in Prince Edward Island are feeling the impact of lost customers one year after table potato shipments to the United States were banned for four months.

Canada stopped sending the Island's best known export to the U.S. on Nov. 21, 2021, after potato wart fungus — a disease that disfigures potatoes — had been detected in a few fields on the Island.

Shipments resumed in April after the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the all-clear for Island farms to resume exports to that country.

But for farmers like Andrew Smith — whose property in Newton, P.E.I., produces potatoes for chips — the loss of long-term customers in the United States has had lasting consequences.

He says he lost a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with a large U.S. company that changed suppliers during the export ban.

Smith says he's worried by renewed lobbying efforts from the U.S.-based National Potato Council, which is calling for more stringent packing requirements for P.E.I. exports.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press