J.D. Irving-owned Cavendish Farms, a North American producer of frozen potato products, has opened a new Research Centre in New Annan, Prince Edward Island (PEI).
The company has invested $12.5 million in the Canadian facility, which J.D. Irving says will allow Cavendish to conduct year-round research using six ‘state-of-the-art’ greenhouses.
Different lines of potatoes with promising traits in relation to the specific soil, climatic and seasonal conditions on PEI will be evaluated. These could include superior yields, size characteristics, or a reduced environmental footprint.
“This is another step to help support potato growers and the potato industry on the Island,” said Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms.
“Our goal is to help address the specific challenges faced by growers here on Prince Edward Island.”
According to J.D. Irving, the growing season on PEI is changing with hotter temperatures and less precipitation at critical times posing challenges for growers and placing the potato crops at risk.
As part of the centre’s study of different potato varieties, a Plant Breeding Programme will cross various combinations to breed and select a variety that is suitable for the conditions on PEI.
“Cavendish Farms’ investment in this important research will benefit all potato growers and the entire industry. It will help ensure the sustainability of our potato crops,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board.
Premier of Prince Edward Island, Dennis King, added: “I commend Cavendish Farms for not only working with Island farmers towards a common goal, but for also taking on a project that brings jobs to the agriculture industry and contributes to the Island economy.”
The Cavendish Farms Research Centre has reportedly created four full-time and up to 12 seasonal jobs.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019