PEI

P.E.I. facing potato shortage

Although store shelves are full, a potato shortage on Prince Edward Island may be coming as farm warehouses are starting to run bare.

Although store shelves are full, a potato shortage on Prince Edward Island may be coming as farm warehouses start to run bare.

Yields across North America were average to poor last year while demand in the U.S. remains high. Suppliers on the Island are expected to hit a wall later this year.

Kevin MacIsaac, general manager at United Potato Growers of Canada, says some customers will be short potatoes. (CBC)

"We are somewheres about 30 per cent less than we were compared to January 2011, one year ago," said Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of United Potato Growers of Canada, which tracks national potato trends. "That's a very, very significant number."

Growers also say tablestock, or the whole potatoes that can be purchased in stores, are in the shortest supply.

"What we do know now is we do not actually have enough potatoes today to reach all the customers at the end of the season, so some customers will be short," said MacIsaac.

On the other hand, farmers expect the shortage to push the wholesale packaged price up to around 20 cents a pound.

"It's always a balance trying to keep supply and demand in place," said potato farmer Ray Keenan.

The problem should be solved when this year's crop is harvested in the fall.

Potatoes are the Island's biggest crop and farmers planted 34,000 hectares worth last year.

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