Palma.—Farmers in sa Pobla were up all night on Saturday keeping an eye on the delicate young plants which growers hope will be the early crop for export.

With the first harvest scheduled within just a fortnight, anxiety grew during the extreme cold which the island has been experiencing about whether the potatoes would survive the freeze.

Although it is apparently too early to assess the damage to the potatoes, Josep Llabrés the President of the s'Esplet growers cooperative in sa Pobla said that at 6pm last Saturday, farmers were out watering the crop as wet leaves are better able to withstand frosts and Siberian temperatures. “The sprinklers were working for 15 hours,” he said. “Such a prolonged period of irrigation is not particularly good for the potatoes but it is their best chance of getting through the weather.” Llabrés explained that it would be necessary to wait for a few sunny days to make a proper judgement on how the crop has fared.
Ministry support
The regional Minister for the Environment and Agriculture, Gabriel Company, a former head of the Farmers Union, was out in person yesterday to take a look at the potato fields in Sa Pobla. Visiting one of the farms belonging to the s'Esplet cooperative, Company said that the survival of the new crop was “touch and go” because harvest time was so close.

The municipality of sa Pobla exports between 20'000 and 25'000 tonnes of new potatoes a year. The volume accounts for 23 percent of Spain's entire early crop. Due to the high volume of production, growers mostly insure their crops. Prior to the freezing weather, farmers had sent photos of fields sown with their potatoes to their insurers.