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June 22, 2015
For immediate release
Province provides additional $500,000 to potato industry
Agriculture and Fisheries
“The integrity of Prince Edward Island’s potato crop is of the utmost importance and lack of consumer confidence in the safety of our potatoes would have significant impact on potato sales,” said Minister McIsaac. “This additional funding will help ensure that our province’s potato industry can move forward from these malicious and criminal acts.”
Through the Growing Forward 2 Canada-Prince Edward Island agreement, the industry will receive financial assistance of $1.4 million for the purchase and installation of foreign material detection equipment. This additional provincial funding of $500,000 will be used for such work as on-site security assessments, training, equipment and continued strong compliance with food safety requirements associated with the detection of foreign material. The federal government has also committed an additional $1.5 million to the industry.
Potatoes represent the single largest agriculture commodity in terms of farm cash receipts ranging from $203 to $257 million annually over the past five years. Economic spin-offs of the industry exceed $1 billion annually.
“The PEI Potato Board is pleased to be working with the Province of Prince Edward Island to ensure the right strategies and technologies are in place to help our farmers address the challenge posed by the criminal act of food tampering. Farms that have already been affected by food tampering have incurred losses of more than one million dollars, and the costs associated with installing foreign material detection equipment will exceed five million dollars,” said PEI Potato Board Chairman, Alex Docherty. “The production of safe, high quality potatoes has always been our top priority, and this support, along with existing involvement in CanadaGAP food safety programs, will help our growers maintain and exceed those high standards.”
“Prince Edward Island’s potato industry is vital to our provincial economy and any incident that could affect the livelihood of the industry would have severe repercussions to our province,” said Minister McIsaac. “It is important that we continue to work together – industry and both levels of government – to ensure that measures can be put in place to maintain consumer safety and confidence in our products.”