Government of Canada research investment to help manage costly potato disease

News release

March 11, 2020 – Ottawa, ON – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food spoke to growers from across the country at the Canadian Horticultural Council AGM today in Ottawa and announced a federal investment of over $2.3 million to support the Canadian Horticultural Council’s research into managing the Potato Early Dying (PED) disease. The horticulture sector contributed an additional $991,918 towards this research, for a total investment of over $3.3 million.

The purpose of the project is to provide potato growers with the knowledge, tools and technologies they need to manage Potato Early Dying, which results in premature aging, limiting potato yield by as much as 50 per cent. As part of the project, the Canadian Horticulture Council will survey potato fields to determine the levels of PED and evaluate the control of PED through growers’ cropping systems, best management practices and control products.

With this new funding, the federal government has invested a total of $13.8 million in Canada’s horticulture research cluster, which is giving farmers cutting-edge technologies and practices for better pest management, better handling of produce, and improved soil health. The research cluster is also developing new sustainable practices to reduce the environmental footprint as well as new crop varieties to keep our growers competitive.

In her speech, Minister Bibeau expanded on her Government’s plan to support growers and help them grow their businesses. Beyond the significant investments into research and science, this includes helping farmers get the qualified workers they need in a more timely way. It also includes working with the provinces and territories to improve our business risk management programs, and helping producers take full advantage of all the market opportunities that have resulted from the Government’s strong agenda for trade.


“Canadian horticulture growers face a competitive marketplace and increasing environmental changes. Our Government believes in the strong role of science, and we are investing in cutting-edge tools and practices our growers need to develop sustainably. We are excited to team up with the Horticulture Council on this project which will help growers avoid the unwelcome burdens which come from this costly disease.”
- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“CHC is thrilled about this additional funding, which reinforces our valued partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on its AgriScience Cluster Program, which now has a total value of over $20 million dollars. Today’s announcement of funding for the Canadian Potato Early Dying Network project will act as an important support for the Canadian potato industry. Altogether, AAFC’s Cluster program is helping to ensure Canadian farmers can continue to grow fruits and vegetables of the highest quality, while supporting the sector’s competitiveness in an ever-changing world.”
- Brian Gilroy, President Canadian Horticultural Council

Quick facts

  • The Canadian horticulture sector is a key contributor to Canada’s economy, representing more than $5 billion in sales and $2.6 billion in exports and supporting thousands of jobs across the country, while expanding markets for the sector’s safe, high-quality products.

  • This research is part of the Horticulture Cluster, which is funded through the AgriScience Program, a five-year, $338 million initiative, to support leading edge discovery and applied science, and innovation driven by industry research priorities.

  • The Agri-Science program is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) is a not-for-profit, national association that represents fruit and vegetable growers across Canada involved in the production of over 120 different types of crops on over 14,237 farms.

Associated links


Oliver Anderson
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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