Although the official data is not yet available, the first estimates indicate that the planting in Castilla y León will cover the same surface area as in the previous campaign, around 16,000 hectares, with greater emphasis on early varieties and an increase in the Agria variety.
Eduardo Arroyo, Chairman of Appacyl (Association of Potato Producers of Castilla y León), affirms that “the planting has been brought forward a great deal and has been too concentrated,” which means that “farmers have planted at the beginning of March, when it would be logical to plant in the middle or at the end of the month, and this could be translated into an accumulation in the grubbing due to the lack of staggering in the planting.”
Yolanda Medina, Chairwoman of the Castilla y León Interprofessional Potato Association, coincides with this point, indicating that “in three weeks 60% of the region’s potatoes were planted.” Furthermore, owing to the drought that is affecting most of the Spanish mainland, “we are seeing a short-cycle trend, due to the cost of irrigation, which is translated into a wider range of early varieties and an increase in the Agria variety in the case of late cycles.”
A lack of funds for a European project
The Castilla y León Interprofessional Potato Association will not continue with a European project to promote this crop, which was endowed with 1,275,000 euros.
After competing with initiatives from other countries and passing a complicated selection process, the Association was awarded the grant for this project aimed at promoting the consumption of potatoes with an outer appearance that differs to the usual ones over recent decades, caused by climate change.
European funds finance 70% of the project, and the remaining 30% must be supplied by the interprofessional association itself. “In the vote we carried out at the interprofessional association, we could not reach an agreement to continue without having this 30% funding, so we rejected it,” Yolanda Medina explained.
In Medina’s opinion “a golden opportunity has been lost to transmit what our potatoes are like and to make people become aware about what is happening with the climate and its effect on the outer appearance.”