Canadian and U.S. officials are working to resolve a potato fungus outbreak in Prince Edward Island that has shut down potato exports.
Catch up: On November 21, Canada banned potato exports to the U.S. after discovering a fungus in the province. Don’t worry, the fungus isn’t harmful to human health, but it can reduce crop yields if it’s not controlled.
- If Canada hadn’t stopped exports from PEI to the U.S. on its own, there’s no doubt that the U.S. would’ve suspended them.
The suspension of potato exports means that lots of potatoes are stuck in Canada, pushing prices down.
Why it matters: The island grows around a quarter of Canada’s potatoes and the potato industry, which contributes $1.3 billion to the province’s economy, employs around 5,000 people. The ban on exports is costing potato sellers around $2 million per week.
What’s next: Canadian officials have said that they have sprayed Canadian potatoes to prevent the fungus, but the U.S. hasn’t provided a timeline for restarting exports.