P.E.I. shipping in potatoes to make up for low crop yield

P.E.I. has experienced a lower potato crop yield than usual this year and has been forced to ship in spuds from other areas of the country to make up for it.​

Island production fell eight per cent overall after dry summer, largest drop among major Canadian growers

P.E.I. is ordering potatoes from as far away as Alberta to cover this year's shortage. (CBC)

P.E.I. has experienced a lower potato crop yield than usual this year and has been forced to ship in spuds from other areas of the country to make up for it.​

The province remains Canada's heaviest hitter in terms of potato production, producing roughly 25 per cent of the country's annual yield.

However, dry weather conditions over the summer reduced the Island crop yield by about eight per cent this year — the largest drop among major growers in Canada.

The ones in Manitoba are probably are not all spoken for yet so we expect that will happen throughout the season.— Kevin MacIsaac

Kevin MacIsaac, general manger of the United Potato Growers of Canada, says western P.E.I. took the brunt of this year's dry spell. He said eastern P.E.I. received enough rainfall to keep production levels near normal.

"Mother Nature still controls a big part of the farmer's wellbeing and their ability to produce a crop," he said.

"It's not a question of acreage being planted, or that kind of scenario, it's more about what the season brings and that's what the season brought this year."

Cavendish calls for more potatoes

Most major potato-growing provinces had a steady production year with Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick experiencing surpluses again.

In response to P.E.I.'s lower yield, Cavendish has had to import potatoes from as far as away as Alberta to make up for the shortage.

Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, says western P.E.I. was hit hard this year by the lack of rainfall. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

MacIsaac said it's costly to ship potatoes from that far away and that processors will have to cover that cost.

"Companies took the initiative to purchase those potatoes and get those moved to P.E.I.," he said. "The ones in Manitoba are probably are not all spoken for yet so we expect that will happen throughout the season." 

MacIsaac said P.E.I. could look for potatoes, if need be, from the U.S.