The Balearic Islands have asked the United Kingdom not to let Brexit affect Mallorcan potato exports.
The Head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Mae de Concha has written to the UK's Agriculture Minister, George Eustice asking him to "maintain the same conditions as before for the export of Mallorcan potatoes."
After Brexit, potatoes were classified as a "high priority" product and "a phytosanitary certificate, documentary certification, identity control and prior notification of the importer are required to export them,” according to a Ministry of Agriculture statement.
That means exporters must declare that their potatoes are not affected by "Globodera gehrens" or "globodera Rostochiensis” which are two species of nematodes inherently found in Mallorcan land.
The plots where the potatoes were grown on the Island follow all the protocols that the UK demands therefore, the quality of these potatoes should be certified.
“The relationship between the UK and the Balearic Islands need not change," said La Concha. “The Balearic Government continues to do everything in our power to reach an agreement with the United Kingdom to enable us to continue exporting potatoes as before, and thus maintain the turnover of such an important sector for Agriculture in Mallorca and the people who depend on it.”
The Mallorcan potato represents 70% of all potato exports from Spain to the UK, according to the Director General of Agriculture, Biel Torrens.
About 5,000 tons of "baby" potatoes are exported from Mallorca to the UK between March and June every year; turnover amounts to around 6 million euros and a hundred producers are employed in the industry.
UK consumers have been eating Mallorcan potatoes since 1927, particularly during seasons when their own crops are not availabel and Torrens highlighted the "strong relationship" the Island has with customers from all over the United Kingdom.
"Farmers on our Island have developed a large-scale business run by highly skilled agronomists and with strict quality controls similar to those in the UK,” he added. “The first crops of ‘baby' potatoes planted in Mallorca are mainly for the British market and are grown under contract with importing customers in the UK.”
Ministry of Agriculture Chief of Staff, Fernando Fernández said the Balearic Government is working with the Delegation of the Government of the Balearics and the Ministry to implement a clear, stable, secure procedure based on trust between British operators and the Mallorcan Potato Sector.
“It’s a problem that’s of great concern to Island producers and exporters,” he said.