P.E.I. potato farmers fear installing metal detectors will be costly

Farmers think metal detectors should be located where potatoes are unloaded

A group of P.E.I. farmers who sell potatoes to the same buyer says it doesn't makes sense for each to install metal detectors to screen for metal objects.

They want government funds dedicated for the screening to go toward metal detectors at the central location where their potatoes are unloaded. But because that is in Nova Scotia, the funding may not be available to them.

The bulk of government assistance being offered to farmers to purchase the equipment is from a federal program, and each province's allocation can only be spent in that province.

Robert Henderson, a member of the legislature for O'Leary-Inverness, says several of the 15 growers who sell to the buyer in Nova Scotia are concerned about the cost of installing metal detectors.

Ottawa and the province committed more than $3 million for security devices after several potatoes were found with metal objects in the Atlantic provinces.

Several cases of metal objects being found in potatoes in Atlantic Canada have recently been reported; the majority have come from a farm in P.E.I.

Earlier this week, the potato industry in P.E.I. boosted the reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever is putting the metal objects into potatoes to $500,000.

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