(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - January 30th, 2013) The Prince Edward Island Potato Board recently held a series of district meetings with Island potato growers to discuss making research a greater priority for the producer-controlled organization. Meetings held in Alberton, Summerside, Charlottetown, and Montague in mid-January featured strong attendance from growers and valuable feedback on issues affecting the PEI potato industry.
When growers were asked whether they supported making research a greater priority for PEI Potato Board funding, the result was overwhelmingly positive at all meetings, with an approval rate close to 100%. When growers were subsequently asked if they supported the Board budgeting at least $100,000 per year for the next five years to be earmarked for research, the vote yielded equally high levels of support.
As a result, the PEI Potato Board will include research coordination and funding as a more significant part of its mandate. Board funds will be combined with other industry funding to leverage provincial and federal government research funding, primarily under the upcoming Growing Forward II program that begins in April of this year.
Potato growers will have a hand in determining which proposed national and provincial research projects will receive funding from the Board based on the merits of the research plan and the research priorities of the Island potato industry. Prince Edward Island will work in partnership with other potato-producing provinces and research partners as part of a national potato research strategy. As well, the Board is working with industry partners, the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop a provincial research strategy for research to be conducted here on Prince Edward Island. At the end of this time period, growers will then evaluate the return on their investment in research.
The potato industry is the single largest economic driver of the agriculture industry on Prince Edward Island, worth over one billion dollars to the Prince Edward Island economy each year. Prince Edward Island is also the largest potato-producing province in Canada.
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board represents Island potato growers and assists in growing the market for PEI Potatoes locally, nationally, and internationally. PEI Potatoes can be found on Twitter at @PEIPotatoes and on Facebook at facebook.com/PEIPotatoes. Prince Edward Island Potatoes also have a brand new web site at www.peipotato.com.