Island potatoes donated for Puerto Rico hurricane relief
19 tonnes are headed for Puerto Rico
Another load of Island potatoes is on its way south to help with hurricane relief, after the P.E.I. potato industry made a donation of spuds to Florida last month.
This time, the spuds are destined for Puerto Rico.
- P.E.I. sending fresh produce to Hurricane Irma victims
"Puerto Rico has a long history working together with P.E.I.," said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board.
"I know there's a lot of concern amongst dealers and producers when they learned of the losses down there and quickly wanting to do something to help out."
A tractor-trailer load left P.E.I. Monday night, headed for a distribution centre in Georgia. From there, the spuds will be loaded onto a ship bound for Puerto Rico.
P.E.I. also sent a load to Florida last month.
Donations from local growers, packers and dealers
The 3.4 million residents of Puerto Rico are still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which hit Sept. 20.
The P.E.I. Potato Board sent word to local dealers, packers and growers that donations were welcome, after it received notice from U.S. authorities that response teams in Puerto Rico were ready.
"There was a short period of time there, a few days in some cases, where they couldn't make contact with the folks that they have relationships with and I know that was particularly concerning," said Donald.
The donations have totaled 19 metric tonnes. Puerto Rico has been a big importer of P.E.I. potatoes for decades. Each year, P.E.I. sells about 80 million pounds of potatoes to Puerto Rico.
'Concerns for the people there'
"P.E.I. would supply the vast majority of fresh potatoes to that region so it's important to us, but through this I haven't heard any concerns for the business," said Donald. "It's concerns for the people there and wanting to do whatever they can to help them out."
The donors are:
- McKenna Bros.
- Blue Bay Farms
- Frank and Scott Power
- W.P. Griffin
- Rollo Bay Holdings
- McCain Foods
- Gerrit Visser and Sons
- Eastern Produce
- Red Isle Produce
- Morley Annear Trucking
- Province of P.E.I.
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