Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 08, 2012 09:52 ET

Harper Government Boosts Potato Industry

FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - Aug. 8, 2012) - Potato producers received a boost today from the Harper Government, as Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Member of Parliament Mike Allen (Tobique-Mactaquac) attended the Centennial celebrations at the Potato Research Centre and announced an investment for two innovative potato research projects.

"These investments will benefit the potato industry, which is vital to the growth and future prosperity of our economy," said Minister Ritz. "As we celebrate 100 years of agricultural research here at the Potato Research Centre, this targeted investment in research and innovation will ensure that the government and industry continue to build strong, value-added opportunities for farmers here in Atlantic Canada and across Canada."

"I am honoured to be here to celebrate this exciting milestone for the Potato Research Centre, which has played an important role in the well-being of the potato industry and our local economy," said MP Allen. "Not only is the Centre home to Canada's leading potato breeding program, but the researchers here continue to look at new and innovative uses for the potato in non-food products, which will create new opportunities for the industry."

The Canadian Horticulture Council will receive nearly $67,000 to consult with stakeholders and develop a Canadian potato strategy to help the industry identify short- and long-term research priorities. The strategy will focus on research, innovation, sustainability and global competitiveness.

BioAtlantech will benefit from $185,000 in research activities to study the effectiveness of using mineral oils to prevent the spread of the harmful Potato Virus Y in potato seed crops. Researchers will look to better understand how mineral oils inhibit transmission in order to establish best practices recommendations.

"We are pleased to see these types of projects getting support. Projects that will result in real commercial benefit and assist our farmers produce better quality seed potatoes for both domestic and export markets," said Joe Brennan, Chair of Potatoes New Brunswick, the industry marketing agency. "The need for focused research and strategic innovation that moves discoveries out to the farm has never been greater as we struggle to be competitive in a 'global' marketplace."

The potato industry is an important contributor to Canada's economy, providing thousands of jobs across the country and generating over $1 billion in farm gate receipts annually. The potato is also an important crop that is helping meet demands of the growing world population, with 40 per cent of potato production in this country harvested in Atlantic Canada.

These investments are from the Agricultural Innovation Program - a $50 million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011. AIP is part of the Harper Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting edge science and technology. AIP boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes for the agricultural sector. For more information about the Agricultural Innovation Program and other AAFC programs please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz