STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE recent heavy rains will not affect a good harvest for potato farmers.
With about 70 percent of the potatoes already collected, the main companies in the sector are putting this year's harvest at 35'000 tonnes.
Last year due to the bad weather, only 22'000 tonnes were collected.
The weekend's heavy rains will “delay somewhat the harvest, but nothing more”, according to Joan Mateu of Mateu & UCO.
However, it's not all good news for the sector as rising fuel costs will eat away at this year's profits.
Mateu said that prices were not corresponding with the rising costs of production, “which are greater for us due to the fact that we are an island, meaning we lose much of our competitiveness against our competitors”.

About 70 percent of the potatoes grown in Majorca goes to the export markets.
Britain makes up 55 percent of this market. But this year, exporters are finding the strength of the euro against the pound a problem. “We have started diversifing our export markets towards Scandinavian countries and those in Eastern Europe which are inside the EU,” said Mateu.
Mateu believes that the Government “should be capable of seeing that we need a strategic plan for the potato sector”.
The harvest, which began on February 28, is scheduled to be complete by the start of June, depending on the weather, a month and a half of hard labour.