As if Canada's Prince Edward Island potato producers aren't having enough problems trying to market this year's seed crop, more bad news has hit.
Mexico refuses to accept PEI and New Brunswick seed potatoes. Reports are circulating that PEI seed has cut into their market, lowering prices.
The PEI and NB trade is worth about $3-4 million-about 200-300 truckloads. Mexico, on the other hand, ships about 8,000 truckloads of produce into Canada. Despite this, officials say it is not enough to open a trade war with Mexico.
The PEI Exporters' Association can't say if the Mexican produce is inspected. It is believed if this was required, it would easily solve the problem.
With a $500 million aid package announced for Canadian farmers (growers wanted $900 million), PEI's share will be about $5.5 million. A diversion plan has been offered based on four-cents per cwt with PEI offering five cents of its own. PEI was hoping for $40 million in compensation.
At this point, PEI's growers don't know whether to plant potatoes this year or not. There is no doubt, according to reports, that some won't be able to.