Cavendish Farms president Robert Irving, left, and Blaine MacPherson, company vice president of agricultural affairs, speak before a committee of MLAs probing the issue of high capacity wells. Irving says his company may be forced to look for potatoes elsewhere if P.E.I. does not lift the current moratorium on deep-water wells.
Editor: If this current government is seeking an opportunity to reset the economic future of our Island, the Cavendish Farms appearance before the Provincial Legislative Standing Committee (PLSC) on Thursday presented an ideal catalyst. There are two very strong messages contained within the Guardian’s Friday report. It is clear that Cavendish Farms’ strategy against the moratorium on irrigation wells is to threaten and bully our government. It is also clear that our current economic dependence upon the management of Cavendish Farms must be reduced. If the farming of potatoes is to be a partnership between the growers, the processors and the Island representatives, how can such a partnership survive if one partner attempts to dictate and pursue its self interest?
The Guardian article does not provide details on the MLA committee’s questions, but how dare the Irving management attempt to fool Islanders that the core question is their continued investment/expansion in P.E.I.? We all know that the french-fry business has problems and there will be no significant new expansion for P.E.I. We also know that any business, including Cavendish Farms, will not purposely devalue its current capital investment here. The Irving arsenal of threats is also apparently aimed at another partner - our farmers. The message “if you don’t intend to invest up to $200,000 in a new irrigation well, you may not get future Cavendish Farms contracts” surely has to be rebuked by our farmers!
Commercial businesses have long tried to avoid the major risk of dependence upon a single product or service; successful businesses have all realized that the key to continued prosperity is strong and open partnerships between all players in the supply chain. It must be very clear to our Government (and the PLSC committee MLA members) that on Thursday, Cavendish Farms displayed all the wrong business partnership characteristics and it is now time to reset to a strategy of dismissing economic threats and building upon our strengths and opportunities with new business partners.
Roger & Jan King,