NFU calls for PEI potato assistance

The National Farmers Union has called for federal assistance for potato and vegetable growers devastated by wet weather in Prince Edward Island last fall.

In a letter to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, and copied to PEI’s Agriculture Minister George Webster, NFU president Stewart Wells said, “Many acres were not harvested at all as farmers tried to avoid storage losses, especially with potatoes. Nevertheless, there were devastating losses that did occur in storage. Many farmers dumped and pumped out thousands of tonnes of potatoes from their warehouses over the winter.

Wells said federal and provincial safety net programs have so far failed to deliver any meaningful assistance to PEI’s affected farmers.

“The costs associated with potato and vegetable growing are very high, and individual farmers cannot be expected to pick up the extra costs of weather-related disasters,” said Wells. “It is time for the Government of Canada to act now, as spring planting bills are only a few weeks away.”

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