Potato cultivation in Asturias has been hit by a Guatemalan moth pest, making it necessary to bring the productions to a halt in order to control and eradicate the pest. Consequently, potato cultivation has been banned by the Council of Rural Development and Natural Resources. This ban will be lifted as soon as moths stop appearing in the traps set up for their detection.
María Jesús Álvarez, acting Councilor, said that at the end of this year, an assessment on the pest's presence will be carried out in order to make the most appropriate decision. "We want to lift the ban as soon as possible, but without putting the work of recent years at risk and with the goal of eradicating the pest," she said. The strategy implemented must complement the one carried out in Galicia.
The first setback for the region's potatoes, and therefore, for the companies in the region dedicated to their production on both a large and small scale, came a couple of years ago, when the expansion of the Guatemalan moth in Asturias led to the crop's production being banned in 13 councils in the west and center of the region, as well as another 19 being declared a buffer zone to facilitate its eradication. Back on June 19, the European Union gave a new setback to the potato producing sector by withdrawing the authorization to use chlorprofam, a compound used to prevent potatoes from germinating once stored.