P.E.I. Potato Growers Are Optimistic for 2021 Season
P.E.I. potato growers say they’re optimistic for the 2021 season, after the roller-coaster ride of 2020, which included the COVID-19 pandemic, and a hot, dry summer that cut into yields, according to CBC.ca.
“There was quite a bit of volatility, and ups and downs as far as the supply chain went, especially in the retail part of the industry. The grocery stores were really trying to react to what the consumers were doing. Potato growers today are a little better off than they were a year ago, because a year ago, we were in total chaos,” said Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada.
He continued to say that he believes growers are more optimistic, and looking forward to some of the things that a new year will bring with planting potatoes. He also added that 2020 had some unexpected results when it came to potato sales.
“Some sectors of the industry, less affected. Fresh consumption was very, very good, actually went up to almost 44% above year-previous levels, because people stayed at home. People cooked more potatoes and enjoyed doing that,” MacIsaac said. “Chip sales went very, very well. And amazingly enough, they stayed up. They didn’t drop down to a more traditional level, they’re still very high.”
MacIsaac said many people in the industry are watching the supply of seed potatoes for planting in 2021. He said the hot, dry summer in the Maritimes cut into the seed produced in 2020.
“Supply is very tight, particularly in some varieties, probably sold out some time ago, for particular varieties,” MacIsaac said. “Possibly by fall, we may see some more normal marketing conditions.” MacIsaac also says the markets are rebounding, but it will take time.
“We’re pretty comfortable in terms of where we’re going back to, where we’re almost at 100 per cent of french fry markets,” MacIsaac said. “Obviously the big thing is, as people get vaccinated, and we’re allowed to travel and move around, we’re expecting some good rebound,” MacIsaac said.