A day after National French Fry Day, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced a $1.4 million investment in potato yield research through Potatoes New Brunswick on Tuesday.
The AgriInnovation Program funding will be used to identify factors that limit potato yields as part of a national effort to boost “the export competitiveness of Canadian French fries.”
“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,” explained 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.”
Potatoes New Brunswick will work with Agriculture Canada scientists, as well as 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.
Almost half of Canadian potato production goes into French fries, creating over $708 million in export sales and employing around 4,000 Canadians.