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Storms and the Guatemalan moth reduce potato harvest in the Canaries by 30%

Potato production in Tenerife will significantly decrease this year due to a wind storm that hit the island in late February, which wiped out a good part of the extra-early potato crop, and the Guatemalan moth plague that has been affecting Tenerife farmers for more than 20 years. According to the Cabildo de Tenerife's agricultural area, 30% of the total will be lost.

Javier Parrilla, the director in charge of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries at the Island Corporation, said that the traditional varieties had been the most affected, which includes the Bonita potato that is mainly grown in the northern area of the Island as a rainfed crop and that has also been severely affected by drought. However, he said, the so-called white potatoes, the best known and most demanded varieties, may also have been damaged, especially in the southern region.

The president of the Association of Farmers and Ranchers of the Canary Islands (Asaga), Angela Delgado, agreed that this year's campaign would be smaller than usual because of meteorological factors and the incidence of the plague. The reduction in production is not only due to the effect these insects have on the crops but also to the fact that many producers have decided not to plant potatoes anymore due to their presence. As a result, she said, this year there will be many fewer potatoes than in previous years.

Delgado hopes that prices can be maintained, as they currently stand at nearly 80 cents and even more than one euro for the most consumed varieties. However, she said, producers won't be able to benefit from this because they do not have surpluses.



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