May 22, 2019
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

P.E.I. agriculture minister joins fight to lift potato ban

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island – Canadian Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief is talking with U.S. officials about possibly lifting their ban on Prince Edward Island potatoes, Premier Pat Binns said Wednesday.

However, the province has yet to hear whether Ottawa will impose a corresponding ban on U.S. potatoes destined for Canadian markets.

“There hasn’t been any action there, but in fairness we wouldn’t have expected anything to happen with that in this amount of time,” said Binns.

The Island premier said the federal government appears to be taking both the potato ban and the province’s outrage over it seriously.

The United States closed its borders to Prince Edward Island potatoes after potato wart was found in a section of one field in October.

The wart is a fungal disease that causes cauliflowerlike bumps that render potatoes unmarketable.

Officials in Maine said the entry of diseased potatoes could pose a threat to the crop in that state.

Agriculture officials conducted over 5,000 tests and determined the potato wart was isolated to the lone field, which has been removed from production. The field will be planted with trees to stop the spread of the soil-borne disease.

Island producers and politicians have accused the Americans of using the potato wart as an excuse to block imports of Canadian potatoes.


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