Cavendish Farms is importing a larger than usual amount of potatoes from other parts of Canada and the U.S. to make up for a local shortfall in supply.
The Irving-owned Cavendish Farms said it has had to import 20 million pounds of potatoes from New Brunswick, Maine and Alberta already this year and expects to bring in another 100 million pounds in the months to come.
It was a challenging year for Island potato growers. A cold spring, dry summer and early frost conspired to decrease yields and the overall quality of the crop. Some farmers were forced to abandon significant acreage of potatoes in the ground as winter hit.
Irving is taking this opportunity to reiterate its position that more supplemental irrigation needs to be allowed on P.E.I. to help ensure a stable local crop. Specifically, Irving has pushed for the lifting of the Island’s deep water well moratorium.
“Recent experience and climate change models agree that growing seasons characterized by dry periods during the critical growing period will become more frequent. Understanding this risk means that government and industry have a responsibility to work together to identify sustainable solutions,” said Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith.
Island Environmental groups and others have opposed the lifting of the moratorium, citing it as a potential threat to the province’s supply of fresh water.