WASHINGTON – The following statement was issued today by Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC):
We were pleased to sit down with Premier Dennis King and a delegation from Prince Edward Island this morning for a conversation about safely and efficiently restoring trade with this important province for both the U.S. and Canadian potato industries.
During the meeting, NPC reiterated that this is a plant health issue, not a trade dispute, and we strongly support the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) commitment to protect the U.S. potato industry from this devastating disease. We understand that APHIS is requiring that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provide comprehensive data indicating where potato wart resides in PEI production areas. Based on that information, CFIA and APHIS can agree on clearly defined quarantine zones, additional mitigation efforts, and comprehensive monitoring measures. We further understand that all of these requirements need to be in place to enable trade to resume safely.
Since potato wart was detected in PEI’s seed production in 2020, soil sampling performed by CFIA has declined by 49 percent. This troubling decrease in testing in the face of such potentially damaging detections has left the industries on both sides of the border with uncertainties about the potential spread of this virulent disease. During the meeting, we asked Premier King for his commitment to work with CFIA to develop comprehensive quarantine, testing, and mitigation plans to ensure trade is quickly resumed.
On behalf of the U.S. potato industry, we thank Premier King for taking his time to travel to Washington, D.C. to work towards a resolution. The ultimate solution in satisfying the plant health experts at APHIS involves aggressive testing, quarantining, enhanced mitigation, and monitoring efforts. We look forward to discussing these plans once they are provided to USDA by CFIA with the goal of resuming trade with this important partner.
The National Potato Council represents the interests of U.S. potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental and trade issues. The value of U.S. potato production is over $4.5 billion annually and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.