"The sweet potato production has skyrocketed this year, and we are feeling the pressure on prices. The production of organic sweet potatoes has grown a lot, but the increase recorded by the conventional is ridiculous," says Francisco García, Manager of the Granada-based company Frutos Los Pisaos, which produces organic sweet potatoes and other organic fruits and vegetables.
According to García, in addition to the expansion of the acreage, this year's weather conditions have been so good that the start of the campaign has taken place between ten and fifteen days earlier than usual and the yield has also been higher.
"This year, the imbalance between supply and demand has been more noticeable than ever, as prices have dropped alarmingly compared to the previous season, and even more when compared to the campaign 2 years ago. The price difference between conventional and organic sweet potatoes is increasingly smaller, with the latter never being more than 10 cents more expensive. This campaign, we have been forced to sell a lot of organic sweet potatoes as conventional," explains Francisco García.
Although preparing new lands for the crop's organic production entails some difficulties, converting conventional plantations is relatively easy to do. "Until very recently, it was a product with very interesting profit margins due to its rising popularity, but its production has been growing so much that it is becoming more conventional."
"Many of our customers in Europe have increased their production fivefold, as is the case in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and these countries usually prefer their local productions when their seasons are underway. At those times, we are forced to sell the product at low prices," he says.
According to García, Malaga was the first province to plant sweet potatoes in Spain, although today many have switched to other crops, such as tropical fruits, and they are no longer as important. The acreage has grown a lot in Cadiz, Seville, Huelva and Granada, with Andalusia being the fastest growing region, although the crop has already spread to Mediterranean provinces such as Valencia, Alicante and Murcia.
Frutas los Pisaos will finish its campaign at the end of January, since this tuber's shelf life is limited due, in part, to its high sugar content.
For more information:
Frutos Los Pisaos
Rambla de Puntalón,
Camino de las Ventillas s/n,
18600 Motril, Granada. Spain
Telf. (+34) 958 069 116