Early Spanish potatoes available more than two weeks ahead of schedule

Early potatoes from Spain will be available more than two weeks ahead of schedule (Courtesy: Southern Exporters)

The Spanish potato sector expects to harvest the first early potatoes in Seville and Cartagena more than about two weeks earlier than last season. The warm winter is boosting the growth of plants and the production process is going much faster than what is usual at this time of the year.

Although there is certainly still a threat from frost and storms during the months of February and March, the sector expects to have fully ripe potatoes in the last week of April, as it is worth noting that when the potatoes arrive earlier, it also takes longer for their skin to meet the right conditions.

In terms of acreage, while Spain's main early potato production areas suffered a fall of around 25% last season, this year a slight recovery is expected. The fact is that while the sector is not going through its best moment, the results of the previous season were still better than those of the disastrous 2014 campaign, especially for the later areas, as the potatoes intended mostly for the domestic market have not been managing to reach reasonable profit margins.

Apart from a few unrepresentative stocks of late domestic potatoes, primarily intended for the processing sector, Spain currently depends on French potatoes; however, this season France is shipping much smaller quantities of potatoes to the Spanish and Portuguese markets due to the low prices offered and prefers the local market. France is consequently keeping its potatoes in storage, waiting for prices to increase.