Truckloads of P.E.I. potatoes have started to arrive at food banks across Canada, part of an attempt to distribute potatoes left sitting in Island warehouses as a result of the 10-week ban on exports to the Usa.
The P.E.I. Potato Board is helping to co-ordinate the shipments, together with two of the country’s largest food bank companies, with investment from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
On Nov. 21, the Canadian Meals Inspection Company (CFIA) announced it was postponing the contemporary potato industry to the U.S. following the discovery of potato wart in two Island fields, bringing exports usually value about $120 million in keeping with 12 months to the P.E.I. economic system to a surprising halt
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will meet at the issue Thursday in Washington.
Packing Containers of P.E.I. potatoes have arrived at Moisson Montreal. (Submitted by way of John VanderZwaag)
John VanderZwaag grew up on P.E.I. and is now operations supervisor at a produce marketing and distribution company in Toronto.
He has been concerned with Second Harvest Canada for greater than six years, serving to to facilitate donations of P.E.I. potatoes to the group, amounting to around one million kilos in keeping with year.
He mentioned it was now time to give back.
“Our growers in Prince Edward Island that we take care of have at all times been very helpful in filling the need whilst there has been a need,” VanderZwaag mentioned.
“This 12 months, we flipped the connection around the wrong way, and now we’re going to lean on Second Harvest to assist the growers who are now the ones in want. and that is the reason kind of how this whole software happened.”
My goal can be, if we will transfer more, we will be able to transfer extra.— John VanderZwaag, produce distributor
VanderZwaag has circle of relatives who paintings in the potato industry at the Island, so he was hearing private stories concerning the affect of the border closure.
“when you sit here in Toronto and just attempt to arise with an idea that may make a difference, TWO HUNDRED quite a bit out of the grand scheme of things won’t sound like a lot, but when everyone that has an involvement with P.E.I. may do their tiny little phase, we would assist save the industry,” VanderZwaag stated.
“that is the main thing. we don’t want to lose growers, we don’t need to lose potato packers. the worth to the Island economic system, to everybody at the Island, may be very, essential.”
P.E.I. potatoes being handed out at Serving To Fingers in Sudbury, Ont. (Submitted through John VanderZwaag )
The First truck load of potatoes arrived Wednesday at Feed Nova Scotia, one of six bi-weekly shipments planned for the organization.
“To get six trailer quite a lot of potatoes, that’s sixty pallets, that’s a huge amount of potatoes,” mentioned government director Nick Jennery.
“But The excellent news is that we will be able to temporarily distribute them to 140 meals banks, shelters and meal techniques across the province.”
Nick Jennery of Feed Nova Scotia holds one among the luggage from the primary of six truck a number of P.E.I. potatoes so we can be a part of the food bank software. (Submitted by Nick Jennery)
Jennery stated farmers have always been large supporters of Feed Nova Scotia, so he has some blended emotions in regards to the scenario.
“While I heard that the farmers, their market have been disrupted, there is clearly a sadness that goes with that,” Jennery said.
“Having stated that, the potatoes that have are available to Feed Nova Scotia, I Am vastly occupied with that. the entire staff is worked up as a result of we see the impact that giving baggage of potatoes to people who can not have enough money to put meals at the desk. it is a large second.”
‘A small gentle spot’
The P.E.I. Potato Board helps with the logistics, as a way to also come with another massive nationwide group, Meals Banks Canada.
Board advertising expert Mark Phillips mentioned it has been excellent for farmers to see a variety of potatoes leaving the Island heading to the food banks.
“we’ve not been in a position to give folks a lot excellent news these days,” Phillips stated.
“it is a small little light spot in an in a different way very darkish time, so … they are indubitably appreciative of it, but we nonetheless want the border open is the biggest thing.
Jennery says farmers have all the time been large supporters of Feed Nova Scotia, so he has a few blended emotions in regards to the situation. (Submitted via Nick Jennery)
“Some people, while I call them, they mentioned they simply weren’t shifting anything else at the second. So this gives them the facility to get their crew in, to pack up a load.”
In The Long Run all of our growers want those meals to be consumed, and that is a way for them to do it.— Mark Phillips, P.E.I. Potato Board
Phillips said growers are being paid a negotiated value, that’s now not where the market would had been, however it allows them to get the finances into more fingers.
“In The Long Run all of our growers want these meals to be ate up, and this is some way for them to do it, ” Phillips stated.
“it is not where we most definitely in the end wish to positioned it, but it’s the best way to spread the finances out as frivolously to people as imaginable.”
VanderZwaag stated 2D Harvest plans to send approximately ten tractor-trailer loads every week to its locations around the u . s . a ., from coast to coast, and into northern Canada.
“Our plan at the moment is to transport approximately 10 rather a lot a week, which might positioned us into about a five-month plan,” VanderZwaag stated.
“Clearly if there may be nonetheless further funding final and there are nonetheless potatoes in fine condition on the Island, my objective can be if we will transfer more, we will be able to transfer more. And if we can move THREE HUNDRED, then we are going to go for it.”
Pallets of P.E.I. potatoes are ready for distribution on the 2D Harvest warehouse in Etobicoke, Ont. (Submitted by way of John VanderZwaag)
VanderZwaag mentioned he hopes this software will continue.
“Expectantly that is a relationship that we will be able to grow in coming years,” VanderZwaag mentioned.
“If the border opens, and the whole lot is going again to industry as usual, we’ve to understand that this is a need that is all the time right here — not only in 2022.”