Potatoes New Brunswick will lead a national research effort to improve potato yields and boost the export competitiveness of Canadian french fries with the help of up to $1.4 million in government support.
The investment through AgriInnovation will enable Potatoes New Brunswick to work with other industry partners, Agriculture Canada scientists and universities, to identify factors that limit potato yields. On-farm experiments will help overcome these limitations and recommend new tools and technologies to potato farmers across the country.
Potatoes are the country’s most widely farmed and consumed vegetable, representing over 30 per cent of all Canadian vegetables produced. The french fry sector buys almost half of Canadian potato production, generating over $708 million in export sales and employing 4,000 Canadians.
Potatoes New Brunswick will work with a number of key national partners, including the P.E.I. Potato Board, McCain Foods Ltd., the Manitoba Horticulture Productivity Enhancement Centre, Dalhousie University, the University of Manitoba and the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Quebec City.
“The stakes for processing potatoes in Canada have never been higher. This funding will allow Canadian potato producers to expedite the process and introduce new technology and best management practices to secure and develop export markets, said Shawn Paget, chair of Potatoes New Brunswick. “A national approach allows our industry to pool resources and make a concentrated effort to improve yields, secure grower profitability and increase competitiveness.”