United States allows shipments of P.E.I. potatoes to resume to Puerto Rico


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WASHINGTON – The United States Department of Agriculture has agreed to allow the resumption of shipments of Prince Edward Island potatoes to Puerto Rico.

Exports to Puerto Rico and the continental United States have been on hold since November following the discovery of potato wart in two P.E.I. fields.

The fungal parasite spreads through the movement of infected potatoes, soil and farm equipment, and though it poses no threat to human health, it leaves potatoes disfigured and can greatly decrease crop yields.

The Canadian government imposed the ban on the exports of table-stock potatoes from the province to avoid a U.S. ban, and the United States said it needed to review Canadian mitigation efforts before shipments could resume.

Puerto Rico usually gets 80 to 85 per cent of its potatoes from Prince Edward Island, representing about a quarter of the province’s potato exports to the United States.

There’s been no indication when a decision will be made on exports to the continental United States or on the sale of seed potatoes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2022.

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