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Growers are the most affected by Guatemalan potato moths

"Spain: "Higher fines for planting potatoes than for planting marijuana"

The Guatemalan moth pest, that has hit potato crops in many parts of Asturias, continues to affect growers in the area. Some producers have criticised the sanctions that they risk if they plant this crop on their farms. "Growers are the big losers; not only should we not be penalised, but we should be compensated," says Marcelino Álvarez, a producer from Ruedes who usually plants potatoes for self-consumption.

Álvarez accuses the authorities of "damaging the reputation" of Asturian potatoes, whose taste "is not comparable to others," while wondering what was done to stop the pest.

"The main problem we have is the silence of the unions. The pest is here because of someone's error and they are punishing those who usually take the blame without anyone doing anything to avoid it," he complains.

Álvarez compares the fines imposed for planting potatoes (ranging from 3,000 to 300,000 Euro) to those imposed for the cultivation of marijuana. "In the end, it's going to be more risky to plant potatoes than to plant marijuana; it's ridiculous," he says.

Ha called for a more coherent approach, for tougher controls on imports and for the analysis of the situation by experts.


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