Potato prices have hit rock-bottom in Spain and Europe due to an oversupply in all early potato producing countries, amongst other factors, explained Ángel Muñoz, director of Intersur, a Spanish potato producer. “We want to inform people about the actual causes of this situation after the statements made in social networks and the media by Asociafruit and certain Andalusian producers, which are very wrong, in our opinion,” explains the representative of Intersur. In Spain, ahead of the new harvest, there has been approximately a 20% increase in the acreage devoted to early potatoes in Andalusia and Murcia. According to Ángel Muñoz, “Most of those responsible for this increase have been producers and operators who don’t have any type of scheduling in place for the cultivation and sale of their crops, and who have done so motivated by the high prices of the previous campaign. At the same time, there has also been an expansion of the acreage in other producing countries.”
In addition to the growth of the acreage devoted to new potatoes, the yields in Andalusia are also at a record high, mostly as a result of the favourable weather conditions for the crop, with an average increase per hectare of up to 50-60%.
The situation has not been as favourable in Murcia, where adverse weather caused a delay of four to six weeks in the new potato harvest, making it overlap with the harvest season in Andalusia. “The delay in Murcia’s harvest also means that at least 4 weeks of supply of new potatoes to the markets have been lost for the benefit of other origins, with that production accumulating for the following weeks,” pointed out the representative.
The coincidence of these four factors has led to a massive supply of potatoes from all production areas in southern Europe, an oversupply in the markets and, consequently, sharp price drops, not only in Spain, but across Europe.
“The high temperatures of the past few weeks have also contributed to increasing the pressure on the buyers, given the risk of harvest losses for the producers,” affirms Ángel Muñoz.
INTERSUR supplies thousands of tonnes of new potatoes from Murcia, Andalusia and Castile-Leon to the main Spanish and foreign packers.
“Our customers have been working without any issues with our supply programs in Murcia and Andalusia since mid-May, when the first batches of new potatoes started to be harvested and supplied with continuity to the packers, and in turn, to the supermarket chains. “Prior to that date, it wasn’t possible to supply potatoes with continuity to supermarkets due to the lack of a firm peel that makes it possible to wash and pack the potatoes without risk of oxidation and rotting in supermarkets,” concludes Ángel Muñoz.