Canada: Shortage of potatoes leads Cavendish Farms to close fresh packaging facility

Related imageCavendish Farms announced today that they will be focusing on the frozen potato processing business on Prince Edward Island in Canada due to the limited availability of potatoes. The decision will result in the closure of their fresh produce packaging facility in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island at the end of the year. “Cavendish Farms has had to make this difficult business decision based on ongoing demand, and limited availability of potatoes on the Island,” said Ron Clow, General Manager, Cavendish Farms. “The supply of raw product is critical to our business. Cavendish Farms had to make up for a shortage of 150 Million lbs. of potatoes in 2017. As a result, we needed to find other sources on the Island as well as import potatoes from New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta and Maine. Plans are already in place to import 65M lbs. this year. This practice is not sustainable. There simply aren’t enough potatoes on PEI for both our lines of business.” 

“Our contracted potatoes will be used to supply our frozen potato processing plants in New Annan,” said Clow. “We will continue to use the O’Leary facility for raw potato storage and, as such, it will continue to provide some seasonal employment.”

If farmers are not able to grow more potatoes (by increasing yields, not acres) then the Prince Edward Island industry may not be sustainable as competition in the frozen potato export market intensifies. The PEI industry will require supplemental irrigation as part of the solution. The Island cannot afford to have its largest export product entirely dependent on rainfall.

Cavendish Farms is a family-owned company that produces quality frozen potato and appetizer products for the North American and international food industry, supplying customers in the retail, and restaurant sectors. It operates four potato processing plants – two on Prince Edward Island, one in Lethbridge, Alberta, and one in Jamestown, North Dakota.