Federal initiative building resilience in the P.E.I. potato sector

News release

Left to right: Heath MacDonald, Member of Parliament for Malpeque; Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown; Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Cardigan; Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA; Ray Keenan, President, Rollo Bay Holdings Ltd.; Alvin Keenan, Director, Rollo Bay Holdings

Prince Edward Island Potato Stabilization and Innovation Initiative is accelerating recovery through investments in modernization and product diversification

October 14, 2022 · Souris, Prince Edward Island · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

The agriculture and agri-food sector plays a vital role in communities across Prince Edward Island and throughout Atlantic Canada. When potato wart was detected on P.E.I. in the fall of 2021, export restrictions threatened the livelihoods of more than 5,000 Islanders who work in the industry. The Government of Canada acted quickly to put measures in place to support those most severely impacted, including the Prince Edward Island Potato Stabilization and Innovation Initiative (PSII).

This two-year, $16 million initiative helps small and medium-sized enterprises modernize their operations to enhance productivity and diversify product lines. Investments in areas such as digitalization and automation, development of value-added products, and diversification into new and emerging markets is helping the industry respond to changing market conditions.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, announced a combined contribution of over $4.2 million for nine businesses across P.E.I.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to working with industry to chart a path forward for the P.E.I. potato sector to ensure that producers, and the businesses that support them, are positioned for sustainable growth.

For a full list of projects, please see the backgrounder.

Quotes

“ACOA will continue to support P.E.I. potato producers every step of the way as the sector recovers from significant market challenges following last year’s restrictions on the movement of potatoes. Strategic investments in this industry not only bring immediate financial support, but also provide long-term sustainability for this pillar of the Island economy.”

-        The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

“Our Island potato farmers are vital to our local economy and a great source of pride for all Islanders. This federal support will help ensure a strong recovery and increased resilience for the industry, while building a brighter future for potato farmers, and our economy as a whole.”

-        The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Cardigan

“Our government is committed to supporting Prince Edward Island's potato industry to make it more resilient to potato wart. This announcement is another step towards the sustainable development of the sector, which is not only important to producers, but to the Island as a whole.”

-        The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The Potato Industry is a vital economic engine for P.E.I. Beyond our hard-working growers and processors, it encompasses many rural and urban based businesses, both directly and indirectly. Federal support for this industry’s recovery is also helping to boost tourism, advanced manufacturing, and many other sectors.”

-        Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown

“P.E.I.'s potato industry has long been an essential contributor to our communities. It is a driver of employment, produces economic spin-offs for other businesses, and plays an important role in the lives of so many Islanders. A healthy and strong economy in P.E.I. requires a fully supported and thriving potato sector.”

-        Heath MacDonald, Member of Parliament for Malpeque

“Our farmers dedicate their lives to providing the highest quality product for Islanders and for people around the globe. The Government of Canada understands that in order to remain competitive, we must invest in the sector, in state-of-the-art equipment, and in the people who build the industry every day.”

-        Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont

Quick facts

  • The potato sector is a key driver of the P.E.I. economy. A 2016 economic impact analysis from the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Land shows the sector generated $1.35 billion in output and contributed over $527 million, or 9.1%, to provincial direct, indirect and induced GDP. 

  • More than 5,000 Islanders work in the potato industry across Prince Edward Island.

  • In February 2022, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada launched the Surplus Potato Management Response plan, providing up to $28 million in federal funding to divert as many potatoes as possible to processors, packers, and food banks; minimizing the number of surplus potatoes that needed to be destroyed.

  • In April 2022, Budget 2022 was announced, outlining the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting the Prince Edward Island potato industry with an additional $28 million dollars investment in various programs and initiatives, including:

    o   $16 million to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for the P.E.I. Potato Stabilization and Innovation Initiative to support stabilization of the sector;

    o   $12 million to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to continue its efforts to prevent the spread of potato wart on P.E.I.

  • The funding announced today is provided through ACOA’s Prince Edward Island Potato Stabilization and Innovation Initiative (PSII).

Associated links

Contacts

Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Marianne.Blondin@acoa-apeca.gc.ca

Mike Critchley 
Senior Communications Advisor 
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Michael.Critchley@acoa-apeca.gc.ca


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