AFTER months of work by farmers, the potato export season has come to an end on Majorca, but despite claims by growers that the harvests have been “normal,” production volumes have plummeted by between 20 and 40 percent, co-operatives in Sa Pobla confirmed yesterday.

Sowing the potato plants began in November and December last year with the earliest crop being picked in February. In the meantime, however, concerns had begun to grow amongst producers over the intense rainfall which swept the island over the winter months followed by frosts and snow.

Joan Cantallops, Managing Director of Illacamp potato wholesalers nevertheless described the potato growing and harvesting season as “normal,” particularly, he said, when compared to the “disaster” of the previous year.

Cantallops explained that producers were getting “fair money” for their crop, in part helped by the fact that with harvest volumes down, farmers were able to demand higher prices. Cantallops said that it was the early crop which had suffered the most as a result of the winter weather, and it was at that time, rather than later in the year, when the greatest decline in production volumes were registered.

Joan Mateu, owner of Mateu&Export potato exporters, said that this year's season has enabled the industry to see its way forward despite volumes being 27 percent down compared to 2009 harvests. He said that the results the farmers obtained were just as important for his own business and confirmed that prices between April and July were “good.” Mateu said that it was earlier in the year when price regulation had been imposed so that the Majorcan crop didn't fall by the wayside when faced with cheaper competition from Egypt and Israel. “Normally our prices run between 45 and 86 pesetas per kilo,” said Mateu.
He acknowledged though that some farmers had lost out because production had declined in some cases by between 30 and 40 percent.