Saskatchewan government sells three potato sheds

The Saskatchewan government is finalizing deals to sell three of its

four remaining potato storage sheds.

Crown Investments Corp. minister Maynard Sonntag said the buildings

would be sold for a price comparable to that earned for two other sheds

sold last December. That would mean the government will get just more

than half their value.

“The net result will be very close to taking $5 million back into our

income for 2002,” Sonntag said.

The sheds are owned by Saskatchewan Valley Potato Corp.

Cavendish Farms of Prince Edward Island is negotiating the purchase of

two sheds at Broderick. A group of investors will purchase the facility

at Riverhurst.

That leaves one shed at Tullis.

The government announced last December it was getting out of the potato

business, after racking up a $28 million loss over five years.

It sold sheds at Broderick and Lucky Lake and announced it would plant

fewer acres of potatoes over the next two years and withdraw from

production by 2004.

Sonntag was criticized at the time for characterizing the potato

venture as a success.

Ironically, it appears the corporation will make money this year, he

said last week.

Saskatchewan Party MLA Greg Brkich said the government nearly destroyed

the industry in his riding.

“It’s only now starting to recover and some of the businesses will

never recover from the millions of dollars they lost when the NDP

potato corporation went bankrupt,” he said in the legislature.

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