Update 2: Links in the post below are now broken; see update here.
It looks like what was supposed to have been an easing of regulations to let small Manitoba potato growers sell product to small vendors (recall, the whole industry is a cartel run by three big potato farms with legislative mandate to squash anyone else) has turned instead to further cartelization of the industry.
And so my sister's having to start fighting again to be able to sell potatoes from her shoppe this summer. Check the Manitoba Potato Coalition blog.
The new legislation means that if a Manitoba grower produces as little as one acre of potatoes, they must apply to Peak of the Market for a permit. The new law states that they are permitted to sell only ‘freshly dug’ potatoes, and that these potatoes can only by sold ‘in bulk’ (in other words, not in pre-packaged bags) with specific conditions on who they can sell to. It states that any potatoes the grower has left after November 1 each year cannot be sold.
The Marketing Council and the Manitoba government have allowed Peak of the Market to concentrate the potato industry to a point where today there are only 13 registered growers with Peak of the Market – with three of their largest growers supplying more than 50% of the potatoes for Peak of the Market’s domestic quota market. When Manitobans purchase locally grown red table potatoes from a major retailer, they are purchasing potatoes through only these 13 growers because of Peak of the Market’s monopoly control.
Without a permit, a small potato producer in Manitoba is no longer allowed to sell their produce anywhere, including independent vegetable stands. Even with a permit, these producers will not be able to sell their potatoes to year-round vegetable stands, restaurant owners, or vegetable wholesalers. Under the new legislation, the only potatoes that can be supplied to these places have to come from Peak of the Market and their 13 growers.
Our hope is that Manitobans will join us in asking our provincial government to amend the legislation to be more fair for all Manitoba producers, allowing small potato producers to grow and sell up to five acres of potatoes each year without restrictions.
This post breaks things down nicely:
Here’s what it will mean to YOU this summer.Good luck in the good fight, Erin! Why the Manitoba government thinks it has any business stopping her from buying potatoes from her preferred farmers... Canadian agriculture has a lot of problems.
Small Potato Growers:
- With the new regulations introduced on March 31, 2010, you now have less choice when it comes to picking locally grown potatoes
- When you buy Manitoba grown red potatoes from a major retailer, you are only supporting Peak of the Market’s 13 member potato growers because of their monopoly control within Manitoba
Farmers’ Markets and Seasonal Vegetable Stands:
- If you grow even as little as one acre of potatoes, you must apply to Peak of the Market for a permit
- You are permitted to sell only ‘freshly dug’ potatoes
- Your potatoes can only be sold in bulk (no pre-packaged bags)
- Any potatoes unsold by November 1 every year ‘must be given to a food bank’
Year-Round Vegetable Stands:
- Farmers wishing to sell potatoes must obtain a permit
- Potatoes can no longer be sold at any market after November 1 of each year
- Potatoes can now only be sold in ‘bulk’ (ie. no pre-packaged bags)
- Under these new regulations, small potato producers are no longer allowed to sell to you
- If you wish to feature locally grown potatoes on your menu, they must now be purchased exclusively through Peak of the Market
- If you want to sell Manitoba grown potatoes, they must now come exclusively from Peak of the Market