Canada: Alberta seed potato acreage may increase

It’s early days yet but the agreement reached on October 31, that now allows Alberta to export to Thailand, is not expecting any challenges for its seed potatoes. “We are looking forward to developing a relationship with Thailand to get our seed over there,” said Deb Hart, Seed Potato Coordinator for Potato Growers of Alberta. “We’re so appreciative of the fact that we had the working relationship with Agriculture Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Alberta’s seed potatoes will be used mainly for processing and some fresh utilization in Thailand. Hart says growers may have to increase acreage in order to accommodate. “It’s hard to say yet as far as what demand will be, but definitely it’s an opportunity for the seed growers in Alberta to widen their prospects and it could result in some increased acreage.” More feedback from farmers will likely occur, as well as a more formal announcement during the Potato Growers of Alberta’s AGM in the next couple of weeks.

Alberta is known for its high-quality, low virus seed. “Importing countries, and even other parts domestically, are looking for that,” said Hart. If you can start with a low virus, high quality seed, it certainly makes the next steps so much easier.” During the mission, tours occurred of the Repository and Pathology labs at Crop Diversification Centre North, which is in the heart of the seed producing area of Alberta. “These services are very important to the seed industry (in the province) and they allowed time to come visit these two facilities and profile them and explain their role in the production of seeds.”
With this new agreement in place, Alberta joins Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, both of which have had seed potato export agreements with Thailand since 2009. Combined, the three provinces produce about 76 per cent of Canada’s seed potato exports overall. According to industry experts, cited in the federal government’s release, seed potato exports from Alberta to Thailand are forecast to be worth up to $2 million per year, on top of the $5 million per year in seed potatoes already exported to Thailand from Canada on average. Other details from the announcement can be found in a previous article published here.
For more information:
Deb Hart
Potato Growers of Alberta
Ph: 780-415-2305
deb@albertapotatoes.ca