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Government helps potato farmers boost exports

Potato farmers will be able to tap into new markets and increase their profitability with an investment from the Harper Government. Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament (Egmont), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced an investment to help find export markets for Canadian varieties of seed potatoes.

“Our government is committed to expanding export markets to help potato growers boost their bottom lines and be more competitive on the world stage,” said Minister Shea. “By learning more about our export potential, more consumers around the world will be able to enjoy great-tasting, high-quality Canadian potatoes.”

This investment of $36,000 will allow the Prince Edward Island Potato Board to work with Canadian potato breeders to select newly registered varieties of seed potatoes that have commercial potential in export markets. Samples of each selected variety will be put through trials in order to determine which are best suited for countries in various climate zones. This will help create a stable supply of Canadian-bred varieties that growers can tap into to compete in the international marketplace.

“The PEI and New Brunswick potato industries are working together on this project to increase our competitiveness in the area of variety development,” said Greg Donald, General Manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board. “We want to increase our collaboration with public and private Canadian breeders so that our growers and dealers have high-quality, uniquely Canadian varieties that suit our customers’ market conditions in North America and abroad.”

“The future of seed exports from Canada will depend partially on variety development and opening new markets,” said Matt Hemphill, Executive Director of Potatoes New Brunswick. “These trials are key to remaining competitive and innovative in a global marketplace.”

This Harper Government investment is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Prince Edward Island, the regional component of CAAP is delivered by the Adaptation Development Agricultural Production Technology Council (ADAPT), and in New Brunswick, by the New Brunswick Agricultural Council (NBAC).

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