13 September 2022
Lifting two weeks early and 25% production decrease expected.
ACCORDING to Gregorio Lopez, from the board of ARAG-ASAJA, the potato campaign in Spain's La Rioja Alta, better known for its vineyards, will be significantly lower than in 2021, a year in which, according to the agricultural statistics service of the Government of La Rioja, producers harvested 37,018 tons.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Territory, and Population expects production will fall by 25%, which means the region will produce around 27,400 tons. The decrease is due to the smaller size of the tubers caused by the high heat in the summer months.
On the other hand, the shortage of potatoes at the national level has forced producers to advance the harvest by two weeks to meet demand. In principle, the harvest will last until mid-October. Most of the production will be sent to the industry (to be frozen and to make snacks).
"This year, costs have skyrocketed; diesel prices have doubled, fertilizer costs have tripled and the increase of energy prices for irrigation is unbearable," Lopez stated. "However, sales contracts are similar to those of last year."
The evolution of the potato in La Rioja shows a clear decline. The largest area was recorded in 1992, a year in which there were 7,703 hectares devoted to this production that yielded 263,268 tons of potatoes. In 1993 the area fell to 7,635 hectares and production increased to 296,200 tons, the highest figure. Since then, the crop has gone downhill and now producers will harvest almost 11 times less volume than they did 3 decades ago.