[CHARLOTTETOWN, PE] - Cavendish Farms says it may be forced to downsize its operations and investments in P.E.I. if government does not lift its moratorium on deep-water wells.
Company president Robert Irving appeared before a provincial legislative standing committee Thursday in Charlottetown, which has resumed its probe into the issue of high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation.
Irving told the committee of MLAs his company is the largest private employer in the province, with an economic impact to P.E.I. of over $1 billion. He explained how Cavendish Farms and Cavendish Produce together purchase more than half of all raw potatoes grown on P.E.I.
But the Island’s potatoes are not meeting the stringent consistency and quality demands of the french fry market. That’s why his company is now at a crossroads, Irving said.
“Do we continue to invest in the Island with an unpredictable supply of quality potatoes at higher cost, or do we reduce investment and start growing elsewhere, where a supply of quality, lower cost potatoes are available?” Irving told the committee. “We believe our future is here in Prince Edward Island, but the P.E.I. government needs to lift the moratorium on irrigation wells as we go into the future.”
The question of whether to allow deep wells to be drilled and used for potato crops has sparked intense public interest and heated debate over water use in Prince Edward Island.
Environmental advocates and the agricultural industry groups have waged a public relations battle over the question of whether…
Province: | Section : Provincial News