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News » 11.04.2016 - Spain: Cartagena new potatoes hitting the market this week

Cartagena expects to start harvesting and marketing new potatoes at national level this week, with initial prices ranging between 52 and 53 cents per kilo. The first exports of Cartagena potatoes will take place in late April.

The frosts recorded on 17 February slowed down the growth process, thereby preventing the expected two week advance in the start of the season in Andalusia. Therefore, even though new potatoes are already being harvested in some extra-early areas, the first significant volumes from Seville and Cordoba won't be exported until early May.

While estimations had pointed to an increase in the potato production due to the expansion of the acreage, the impact of the frosts will keep the production volumes at similar or slightly higher levels than last year.

"The plants have already recovered from the frosts and quality is very good. Recent rains have also contributed to a suitable formation of the tuber, which is positive, considering that export markets are already demanding Spanish new potatoes," explains Javier Boceta, producer and exporter of potatoes.

The main drawback for Spanish potato growers may be the impact of the decision of many exporters not to ship new potatoes to the UK market, which could take a toll on prices, as the supply in other markets will be affected. The UK recently updated its phytosanitary protocol for Spanish potato imports, which basically requires the washing and brushing of all products; something virtually impossible for new potatoes, considering that their skin is too thin and sensitive.

As regards the marketing of new potatoes in the domestic market, the exporter is optimistic. "This year, Spanish distribution chains are expected to replace French potatoes for storage with Spanish new potatoes from the start."


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