Prince Edward Island farmers will soon be able to resume exporting potatoes to the United States, months after Canada suspended shipments because of the detection of potato wart in fields on the Island.
The United States Department of Agriculture issued a news release today stating the two countries have reached an understanding.
The USDA says exports of P.E.I. table-stock potatoes can resume under certain conditions, including that potatoes shipped to the U.S. come only from fields not known to be infested with potato wart.
Canada halted the export of potatoes from P.E.I. last November to avoid a U.S. ban, and the continental United States market has been closed to all Island potatoes ever since. Exports to Puerto Rico resumed last month.
The P.E.I. Potato Board has said the Island’s potato industry lost more than $25 million before exports to Puerto Rico resumed.
Potato wart is a fungal parasite that spreads through the movement of infected potatoes, soil and equipment, and though it poses no threat to human health, it leaves potatoes disfigured and can decrease crop yields.