Alberta Declared PCN Free

Apr 09, 2021

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Potatoes are a billion-dollar industry for Alberta and this week the industry received some good news.
 
Alberta has been declared Potato Cyst Nematode free.
 
The Potato Cyst Nematode is a destructive pest that lives in the soil and has the potential to dramatically impact potato yields.
 
In 2007, the CFIA had placed two fields in Alberta under a Notice of Prohibition after routine testing raised suspicion of the presence of PCN.
 
Potato production in those fields were halted, and years of restrictions and surveillance for producers across the province followed.
 
Other Alberta potato farmers were ultimately able to resume export of seed potatoes to the U.S. in January 2009.
 
For Alberta seed potato growers the issue around PCN has continued to impact international market access.
 
The province was able to help line up the funding needed to get seed potatoes back in the ground.
 
Overall, a total of 39 farmers, including the two with the suspect fields received about $16 million through federal-provincial assistance.
 
After the 2020 tests all came back negative the CFIA lifted the restrictions.
 
The work around the PCN free announcement was a team effort between the affected farm, the Government of Alberta, Potato Growers of Alberta, CAP programming and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
 
PCN is regulated under the province's Agricultural Pests Act and is a federally quarantined pest.
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