Canadian potatoes may go global

Our member growers want answers to all of these issues.

Rabon Canadians potatoes could be part of a deal for a global trade agreement that is to be negotiated this spring. Rabon is a member of the Atlantic Potato Growers Association (APGA). APGA represents approximately 300 growers, processors and retailers of potatoes, onions, green beans, peas, and radishes throughout the Atlantic provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Maine. To further further develop New Brunswick’s potato industry, the province is also a member of APGA.

APGA’s president Andrew Wernick said, “Our member growers want answers to all of these issues. We are concerned with these comments and we have provided written answers to those comments in an effort to resolve issues as they may relate to imports from Canada and pending trade agreements.”

Rabon is one of the major producers of New Brunswick potatoes. Early potato pickings last week were very good. Demand from potato snack makers has been strong. Consumers and retailers appear satisfied with the quality and taste of the product. Meanwhile, talk of trade negotiations continue and the pressure is mounting for Canadian governments to negotiate a free trade agreement between the United States and Canada.

APGA’s Chairman Robert Holbrook stated that no one from Canadian government was available to meet with APGA or address concerns of member producers at a forum last week.

The Atlantic Potato Growers Association is also developing a new marketing strategy to improve prospects for New Brunswick growers, he said. This strategy is in support of the development of New Brunswick potatoes as an agricultural export for New Brunswick, he said. “New Brunswick potatoes will compete with the U.S. because of this marketing strategy, by making fresh and frozen potatoes available to customers, U.S. consumers, and retailers.”

Rabon has been the longest producing potato growing region in the world, he said. Holbrook added that Rabon’s extensive potato production facilities mean that the quality of potato products are consistent and produce is consistently fresh, he said.

Holbrook went on to say that the supply side of the spectrum of potato marketing will be at the forefront of the trade negotiations.

“This means where potatoes are grown and how potatoes are produced and packaged. The new free trade agreement is going to include important elements of protection and new rules of trade,” he said.

Holbrook said that issues around market access will be important to Canada and the United States in order to settle the global trade dispute.

“The issue of softwood lumber trade barriers between Canada and the United States will also be a major focus of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks. The Canadian Government has agreed to move away from restrictive softwood lumber timber supply management to a more progressive and open industry structure,” he said.

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