CBC News – Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
August 10, 2009
Virus Y focus of international conference
Fredericton is in the eye of the potato world this week with more than 200 delegates from Canada, the United States and 10 other countries attending the 93rd annual meeting of the Potato Association of America.
The potato virus Y, which can affect crop yields and quality, will be a major topic of the international group representing growers, researchers and marketers of potatoes.
Organizer Loretta Mikitzel said scientists will be explaining their research and findings to improve the potato harvest.
She said that includes looking at alternative non-chemical methods of controlling pests, diseases and weeds.
"There’s also an international symposium centred around the potato virus Y, which is a worldwide concern," she said.
"We have invited speakers from China, Poland, the United States and Canada, and they’ll be talking on different aspects of this disease — how we can best control it so it doesn’t get any worse than it is. It’s not a devastating disease, but it does affect yields and quality of potatoes."
Such information is vital to growers, said Potatoes New Brunswick executive director Robert Garreau.
"What these people are working on, and the latest results, often have a direct bearing on the bottom line for their grower. So, it can directly affect their production and their economic abilities for their operations," he said.
The potato industry generates about $1.3 billion for New Brunswick’s economy every year, according to the Potatoes New Brunswick website.
During the annual meeting, there will be an agriculture tour of the McCain Foods research farm and the Potato World Museum, both located in Florenceville, known as the "French Fry Capital of the World." The tour will also visit Jolly Farmer greenhouse operations in Northhampton and a kettle potato chip plant.