The National Potato Council continues to urge the USDA to use a science-based review process to resolve the matter of the potato wart fungal problem found in Prince Edward Island, Canada, potatoes.
The USDA is examining various options with regard to regular movement of fresh and seed potatoes within and from Canada to the United States.
Meanwhile, Canadian officials are trying to find alternative markets for their potatoes and are looking at a farm-income program with $1 million put into a market fund to help growers find markets.
PEI Rep. in Ottawa Wayne Easter says, "This is an unfair trade practice. Just another delaying tactic." He advocates a "state-by-state action similar to what they're doing to us."
Easter says the only way United States will allow bulk shipments even within Canada is "as washed tubers. That's ridiculous. That means when we ship potatoes to New Brunswick they must be washed before they go, and when they reach New Brunswick they must be washed again-and peeled. It's crazy."
Observers say it has not been a happy Christmas for PEI growers.