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Canada/U.S. agreement supports potato trade


May 26, 2014
By Press release

Topics
Potato cyst nematode

May 26, 2014, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have adopted revised guidelines to manage potato cyst nematode (PCN) that will support potato growers, help facilitate international trade, and maintain protection against the pest.

Effective immediately, seed potato growers can be eligible to export three crops without any additional soil sampling and testing if their fields have been tested twice and it’s determined they are not infested with PCN. In the past, seed potato growers were required to undergo sampling and testing for every crop of seed potatoes destined for the U.S.

“The revision to the PCN guidelines is a step in the right direction, based on science, and it should reduce the demand on PCN soil sampling and testing,” said Bob Watson, chair of the Seed Potato Sub-Committee. “We were pleased to be involved throughout the revision process and the revised guidelines should benefit growers on both sides of the border.”

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Small potato tuber samples may now be exported to the U.S. without any additional soil sampling and testing if they were produced in a field that has been tested and is not infested with PCN.

Overall, the revised PCN guidelines will help farmers take advantage of trade opportunities with less paperwork, fewer delays and lower costs.

“Our Government continues to work with the United States to support potato growers on both sides of the border,” said Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This common-sense revision to the PCN guidelines is a practical, science based move that will benefit producers and help grow our economy.”

While PCN does not pose a risk to human health, it is recognized internationally as a destructive plant pest of economic importance and, therefore, a quarantine pest for the U.S. and Canada.

Growers who intend to ship seed potatoes to the U.S. are encouraged to contact their local CFIA office for more information and to schedule any soil sampling and testing that may be required.