The Spanish early potato harvest has started off with good quality.
Due to the good weather conditions and after the harvest in Malaga, the first orders from Seville have arrived on the market a few weeks early compared to the last campaign.
Everything indicates a good start, where, within the overall context of the market, there is little stock of French potatoes, which means a forecast of fluid demand for the tubers which could also reach reasonable prices.
In general, and after some years where the Andalusian crops were tending to decrease, 2017 appears as a campaign where the production is tending to recover part of the planted surface area. “Although obviously, we are a long way from the figures that this region had a decade ago,” Pepe Porcel, manager of the company, Distrisur explains.
The economic crisis had serious effects on produce such as new potatoes, considered one of the most generalised commodities for the large supermarkets. “At a time of economic difficulties, Spanish new potatoes suffered a great deal, since French potatoes, kept in cold storage, prevailed on the supermarket shelves, basically due to the price”, the executive remarks.
Spain clearly has a deficit of potatoes, importing over 700,000 tonnes of French produce, stored for months and reaching the market with very competitive prices. Compared to this situation, the Spanish production only reaches 2 million tonnes.
Production in Murcia. This year’s harvest will be delayed in the Region of Murcia, as a direct result of the heavy rains and floods that occurred in the area, which caused a delay in planting. In all likelihood, the main part of the production will not be harvested until the end of May or June.
In this region, the potato crop has stopped being a supplement to other vegetables and it is raising strong expectations. Some operators have seen the Campo de Cartagena area as an alternative to the Sevillian productions, but the truth is that both areas are essential and even complement each other to take care of the markets, as they both are available to attend to the demands of the national market or the export programmes for the European large supermarkets.
Traditionally in the Murcia Region, the potato crop was used to cover the gaps left in the fields used for other vegetables, but there was no business mindset regarding the idea of growing the varieties that the market was demanding. However, over the past ten years, the surface area of potato crop has been growing and the region has become a reference source, although the water problems they suffer from area a disadvantage that the producing regions in Seville do not have.