The Prince Edward Island Potato Board will take over responsibility for disinfection services for Island potatoes beginning Jan. 1.
The plan, which was announced recently, will see industry inspectors take over the services at the Borden-Carleton inspection station from provincial employees. Provincial staff will assist with the transition at the Borden facility until March 31.
Greg Donald, general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, said, “The plan announced today addresses our need to ensure biosecurity for our seed sector, the foundation of our Island potato industry. Through a collaborative approach with multiple experts and industry partners, we are pleased to arrive at a solution which maintains or enhances measures to prevent outbreaks of potato diseases such as bacterial ring rot.”
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac said, “The province of Prince Edward Island recognizes the contribution of the Island’s potato farmers to our province and that through constructive collaboration between the Province of Prince Edward Island and P.E.I. Potato Board, the industry will maintain its reputation for high quality product via enhanced emphasis on the highest standards of biosecurity.”
Support will be offered through the Canada-P.E.I. Growing Forward II programs to assist farmers with the purchase and installation of their own disinfection equipment.
And some private businesses will provide third-party disinfection services.
The P.E.I. Potato Board will also host a series of workshops across the Island in January to provide potato farmers, packers and other industry partners with all of the necessary information to perform disinfection, including information on bacterial ring rot.
The P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Plant Health Act, will retain regulatory responsibility for oversight of P.E.I. potato farms (both seed and non-seed) if bacterial ring rot infection occurs. The department will aslo continue to provide dedicated cleaning and disinfection services under contract with CFIA for potato wart regulated land.
The revised program was formed through collaboration with industry members and the provincial department of agriculture and fisheries, as well as independent scientific consultation.