PEI Board Member: `Bite The Bullet'

Published online: Jan 25, 2001
Robert MacDonald, formerly chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, told the industry on the Canadian island that it was "time to bite the bullet."

MacDonald is referring to growers accepting their plight in light of the recent quarantine placed on seed potatoes coming from PEI.

Curtis MacMillan, who has 50 million pounds of unmarketable potatoes, says he'd rather sell than bury them. He believes limited access to the American market is better than none, even if it results in making the PEI seed potato business a sacrificial lamb.

Wayne Easter says that compromising seed doesn't mean Americans will "let you into their markets. All you've done is compromise someone else. We've got to stand up to the Americans, not start catering to their mistaken agenda."

Ivan Noonan, manager of the PEI Potato Board, says, "There's an unwillingness to accept the American ultimatum at the expense of the seed industry. I'm very uncomfortable with trading any sector of the industry short term without a guarantee and the Americans are not about to give us one." He says they've set conditions before only to add more later.

MacMillan, critical of the diversion plan, says it should go only to the seed and table stock producers who are caught in the problem.