P.E.I. potato growers up for AgriRecovery aid

Potato growers on Prince Edward Island affected by “extreme wet weather” can now share up to $12.4 million in federal/provincial aid through the AgriRecovery program.

AgriRecovery, one of the programs under the federal government’s Growing Forward ag policy framework, is meant to help governments address gaps not covered by existing programs and respond quickly to natural disasters.

“This program is in response to requests from the potato industry which is facing serious losses due to acreages which cannot be harvested and which face the risk of rot in storages,” said P.E.I. Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair in a release Wednesday.

“The program will help producers make timely decisions on the management of their crop,” he said.

Federal and provincial officials have indicated, following visits to the affected areas, that damage looks to be “approximately 10 times more severe than in previous years,” the province said.

Placing potatoes in storage that have a high incidence of rot could place the entire storage at risk, the province said. To reduce the risk to potato storages, AgriRecovery aid will be provided to encourage producers to destroy affected areas of their fields.

This aid is aimed at complementing the existing production insurance program, the province said. More than 60 per cent of the 2008 crop is covered by production insurance, and those insured farms will get Stage 2 assistance for all areas that are abandoned. All P.E.I. potato producers, however, will be eligible for disaster assistance to destroy affected areas of their fields.

While recognizing that other crops have suffered losses, LeClair said it’s expected that other existing programs are expected to cover those losses.

Eligible farmers who wish to take part in this AgriRecovery program can do so immediately and contact the Agriculture Insurance Corporation at 902-368-4842 for more information.

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