Cavendish Farms has confirmed it is laying off 60 people from its plant in New Annan, P.E.I.

'We are making every effort to assist those impacted with early retirement and severance packages.'- Ron Clow, Cavendish Farms

The layoffs are effective today. The plant processes potatoes into french fries and other frozen food products.

Company officials say competing plants across North America and Europe have increased production, and that in turn has depressed prices for Cavendish Farms products.

Company vice president Ron Clow said the layoffs will streamline production, improve efficiency and reduce costs at the New Annan facility.

 “We are committed to sustaining a successful processing business here on the Island, and this means responding to the competitive realities we face,” said Ron Clow, vice president of Cavendish Farms, in a statement.

The layoffs come out of a review last summer of production at the plant, which identified some areas where changes were needed. 

"[Our] Human Resources [department] is providing support with outplacement services and assistance with Employment Insurance claims," he said.

"We are making every effort to assist those impacted with early retirement and severance packages, exceeding the requirements of our collective agreements and provincial regulations."

Clow said the new business plan requires reducing the hourly production team by 60 people.

Cavendish Farms says it employs about 700 people at its New Annan plant.