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     Foro Espagnol de la patata
    In Spain, a new potato organisation was established: "Foro Espanol de la patata", the Spanish Potato Forum.

    Earlier this month, potato producer associations ASONAL, ASOCIAFRUIT, CIPP and ASOPOCYL;Agrofood Cooperatives;distribution associations ACES and ASEDAS;the Eroski group and potato trading companies Torribas and Pepsur Marketing SLU, formed the new organisation.

    The objective of the forum is to serve as meeting point for all links of the supply chain and to agree on initiatives that contribute to the sustainability of the production and all economic activities related to the potato sector.

    During the inaugural meeting, Roberto Ruiz de Infante, president of FEPEX's Potato Committee, was elected president of the Forum, and Aitor Ruiz Lacasa, of Eroski, as vice-president. The secretarial function will be carried out by FEPEX.

    The "Foro Espanol de la patata"is part of the overall goal to bring back potato cultivation in Spain to its previous levels, which will a.o. require the implementation of new policies regarding both agriculture and trade.

    The evolution of the potato sector in Spain has been negative in terms of acreage and production volumes, dropping from 257,000 hectares in 1992 to 73,700 in 2012, and from 5.1 million tonnes to 2.1 million during the same period. This is the steepest decline compared to any other producers within the EU, most of which maintain their production volumes or even increase them.

    Another goal for the Forum is to promote consumption. In Spain, fresh potato consumption volumes up to July 2013 stood at 639 million kilos;1.1% more than in the same period of 2012, and the expenditure reached 523 million Euro;42% more than in the previous year.

    The per capita consumption in Spain in 2013, taking the latest data from July 2013 into consideration, is of 23.2 kilos per person and year, according to the Food Consumption panel of the Ministry of Agriculture.

    During the entire year 2012, fresh potato consumption volumes stood at 1,066 million kilos, 3% more than in 2011.