Prices showing upward trend in Castile-Leon


16 August 2023
Exports absorb early varieties, says producers association.

THERE are shortage in the potato market in Castile-Leon, in north-west Spain, but prices are stable and showing an upward trend, according to the Association of Potato Operators at Origin of Castile-Leon (Asopocyl).

The potato harvest is already underway in all of Castile-Leon and the association's President, Marco Martin, said around a fifth was already completed.  

"The campaign kicked off early, at the beginning of July, and even in late June in some areas," he said. "There was initially a bit of uncertainty, because, when the campaign started, there were still potatoes from Andalusia, Murcia or the Levant available, but to our surprise, exports started, and France, Belgium and the Netherlands quickly absorbed the early varieties, making things even in the market and causing some product shortages and rising prices."

In 2022, Spain's potato acreage recorded a slight 0.7% rebound compared to the previous season, driven by the expansion in Galicia, which according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (with data up to September 2022), was the autonomous region with the largest area devoted to potato cultivation in the country. 

However, Castile-Leon remained the largest producer, despite a 5% reduction compared to the previous year, and a 13% drop compared to the average. It achieved this despite the climatic difficulties it faced, which reduced the yields at national level and brought the Spanish harvest to record lows, falling below 2 million tons per year for the first time.

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"This year, the acreage in Castile-Leon will again be somewhat lower than last year. We estimate that there will be about 16,200 hectares. Yields will fall somewhat short, because we have dealt with all kinds of problems: cold, heat, hail, frost ... But still, the quality is quite good," said the manager of Patatas Pamaral.

Lower yields were seen in the southern and Levant areas as a result of drought and weather adversities, causing prices at origin to rise to up to 70 cents per kilo. The previous year, the average value of potato exports in Spain stood at 30 cents per kilo following a 27% year-on-year increase.

"It is very difficult to work with these price levels when you take the end customer into account, but the good of this, at least in Castile-Leon, is that when the supply increased, the expected price drops were not as great. We have gone from the 70 cents per kilo that were paid in Andalusia to 24-25 cents, which is not so bad," said Marco.

Source: Fresh Plaza   Photo: Lucas van Oort

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