The decision of the European Commission not to renew the authorization of the active substance chlorprofam, an antigerminative used to store tubers, will have a great impact on the French potato sector, and therefore, also on the Spanish, which receives about 800,000 tons of French potatoes a year, according to Eduardo Arroyo, president of the Potato Producers Association of Castile-Leon (APPACYL).
Given the impossibility of using this antigerminative, the French plan to work more with cold as a means of preservation. They will also have to work with new potato varieties, since chlorprofam made it possible to store thin-skinned potatoes. However, the cold requires potatoes with a thicker skin, firmer flesh and a higher dry matter content. In addition, they plan to reduce the planting of potatoes for washing and increase those of potatoes for the processing industry, as reported by Eduardo Arroyo, who last Friday had the opportunity to meet with the top leaders of the French interprofessional association for potatoes (CNIPT) and the French organization of potato producers (UNPT).
In this new scenario, France's exports will foreseeably focus on the Spanish market between the months of August and November, which is also the period when the bulk of Castilla-Leon's production is harvested.
In 2019, about 20,000 hectares of potatoes were planted in Castile-Leon. Since the campaign had a satisfactory development, it has been forecast that the acreage could increase by 12%, to 22,500 hectares. In Seville and Cartagena, the number of plantings has already increased compared to last year. In Albacete, the acreage is expected to remain stable; however, it should be taken into account that in 2019, the acreage doubled compared to 2018, going from 4,000 hectares to 8,000 hectares planted.