- john lynch
- March 18, 2013 - 19:17
As a retired teacher who has always had an interest in the past history and local farming, I have traveled to many communities and I see nearly everywhere signs of gardens that supported families. and nearly all of them were purely organic. Then roads and large food chains arrived and the small animal and vegetable farms just vaporized. With it went excellent quality food and all products were shipped in. I organically grow my own potatoes, beet, onions, and apples all I can see is rubbery months old vegetables with vague sources and questionable means of growing even in the best of chain stores. Simply put, grow food,especially potatoes.
- March 18, 2013 - 17:23
What would really help the issue here is some leadership from the farmers as a whole; as a unified marketing group, to approach local retail (Dominion, Sobeys, Colemans) with a buy local, support your provincial farmers, initiative. This could be done as a first step before they are able to tackle new varieties and possibly organic or other options. This needs to be tackled across many food categories in Newfoundland. It is really a shame to truck in food supply from the rest of Canada when NL can easily become self sufficient with the right leadership. Give me the ball. I will run with it.
- Don II
- March 18, 2013 - 09:15
As usual the Government of Newfoundland is living in a dream world. There are very few new entrants into farming in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially in potato production because farmers are forced to obtain 50 year agricultural leases of Crown land from the Government. Private land owners will not sell their land for farming at ridiculously low prices. Who in their right mind is going acquire Crown land on a lease, spend years of hard work and money to improve the land for the benefit of the Government? Unlike privately owned land, the leased farm land cannot be sold or developed for other more lucrative purposes. The leased Crown land is not an asset for the farmers family into the future. Once the Crown land lease expires or the Government decides to boot the farmer off the land that he/she has worked for years to improve, the farmer will be out of pocket , out of land and out of luck. There is no possibility of an export of the potato crop due to diseased soil and badly deformed potatoes. Local production for the local population is a no win situation because the prices fluctuate every year and the weather is extremely unpredictable. Unless and until the Government of Newfoundland changes its land use policy to allow for fee simple grants of Crown land to private owners who can benefit financially from actually "owning" and farming the land, there will be little farm expansion in the Province unless it is heavily subsidized by the Government at tax payer expense.
- March 18, 2013 - 08:14
The other big challenge for Newfoundland and Labrador's potato market are that root crops like potatoes and carrots produced on the Island of Newfoundland cannot be exported to the Canadian mainland due to Potato Wart Disease quarantine.
- March 18, 2013 - 08:08
To encourage more potato production in Newfoundland,something has to be done to prevent the unfair competition from the mainland.Farms here are small and can not utilize the large harvesting equipment used on the mainland,which increases the labour cost locally.The constant sale price week after week put on by Supermarkets under cuts the sale of local potatoes,which would discourage more production here.Local farmers only have the local people to sell to,because we are forbidden to ship out of province due to having canker and golden nematode in our soil(though not on any farm) yet P.E.I. have found the potato wart on farms but they are not quarantined.Seems to be a double standard here.We can grow more potatoes here but are at the mercy of mainland farms that can crush us at any time by selling at a price we can not match.
- March 18, 2013 - 08:02
This is very exciting news but NL should also consider embracing niche markets like "ORGANIC FOOD" which will help diversify our product (PEI is tough potato competition), the island of NL could work on making it's own brand of ORGANIC potato that will help feed the bellies of hungry, environmentally conscious people who are willing to pay a higher price for confidence in the healthfulness of the food products that they eat. We have done it in the past (seaweed+ caplin, etc.) so why not build on this model and carry forward our agriculture industry in a sustainable fashion (while also getting a better market value for the product).