Potato growers in PEI say the province's biggest industry is at risk, thanks to a decision by the federal government this week.
The CFIA issued a temporary ban on the export of fresh PEI potatoes to the US, a more than 1.3-billion-dollar industry to that province every year. It's because two additional cases of the potato wart fungus showed up in fields in PEI last month. But the fungus has been present in potato fields in PEI for more than 2 decades.
Federal Ag Minister Marie Claude-Bibeau said this week, the temporary ban was necessary because the White House was threatening to issue its own ban, something she says would have been more difficult to remove. The issue came up during question period in Ottawa on Wednesday.
The PEI potato board is calling for an immediate reversal of the ban and the resumption of fresh potato exports to the US. Dennis King, the premier of PEI told CTV News this week, he has trouble believing the White House issued a warning.
King says the province has exported potatoes to many nations over the past 2 decades and never had an issue with potato wart being spread to any of those countries.
The temporary ban does not affect potatoes grown in other parts of the country.
Our sister station in Charlottetown, Ocean 100, showed their solidarity with PEI potato farmers by playing Stompin' Tom Connors hit "Bud The Spud" non stop on Thursday morning until they received 10,000 online signatures for their petition of support for the farmers. "It's big news here. It crushes a lot of folks and we decided we wanted to show our support for the PEI potato farmers and all the work in the industry," shares Scott Chapman News Director for Ocean 100. "There's no more iconic Prince Edward Island song than 'Bud The Spud' Stompin' Tom Connors. We thought we would give Islanders a chance to show their support.Click here to see more...