Palma.—Yesterday Majorca's potato farmers began harvesting the early potatoes, most of which are exported to the United Kingdom, but there are concerns that the February cold snap may have damaged this year's crop.

Juan Mateu, the manager of Mateu Export in Sa Pobla, said yesterday that as much as 30 percent of the crop could have damaged by the weather. Long cold snap
However, he said that no exact figure will be reached until March 15 when agricultural inspectors and insurance assessors have finished checking over the crop.

But, the long cold snap is thought to have done considerable damage.
However, this year Mateu Export is beginning the harvest earlier than usual.
Normally, the potato harvest does not get underway until the middle of March, but Mateu Export last year planted a variety called Lady Christl which is very resilient and has been grown purely for export. “The potato has sprouted very early because of the unusually warm weather during December and January, so we're starting the harvest now,” Mateu explained. “This crop will be a quality one because, like I said, it's a tough one but we're not expecting to export quantities similar to last year which was a good season. “Also, the cuts introduced by the government and lack of financial support for the agricultural sector have not helped either,” he added. “They slashed aid by 25 percent over the past year, so, if we have lost 30 percent of our crop to the weather, the government is not going to help ease the financial impact but Majorca's potato industry is far too important to be ignored.”

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