The spring's early Spanish potato season has started about ten days early this year, although rainfall in the growing areas this week is slowing down the harvest, which will lead to a drop in the supply until the end of April.
"Although we have been supplying some limited quantities of Spanish potatoes from Andalusia and Murcia to some of our customers since January, we have recently started the spring's new potato campaign. At the moment, we are able to supply good volumes of a quality domestic production," says Juan Manuel Coello, sales director of Patatas Meléndez. This company, based in Valladolid, is a Spanish leader in fresh potato production, with 200,000 tons marketed last year.
"The start of the campaign has been brought forward about ten days this year, although the rains in Murcia are slowing down the harvest, which will prevent us from reaching the markets with strong volumes in the coming week. Moreover, we won't be able to offer the desired continuity in the supply," he says. "From the last week of April, we hope to be able to offer a more consistent supply."
According to Juan Manuel Coello, the acreage devoted to potatoes for fresh consumption in Spain seems to be similar to last year's, with reductions in the case of some varieties for the processing industry; a result of the situation of the horeca channel and the impact of the pandemic. However, Patatas Meléndez is once again expanding in order to meet the demands of its customers. "Yields are good and we expect the volumes we had planned. In terms of quality, the potatoes are generally doing well this year, with the exception of some mildew problems in some growing areas of Andalusia," he says.
The demand from large retail chains continues to be good, despite the pandemic. "Last year at this time we saw an incredible increase in the demand due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, but it was exceptional. Now we are in a situation of greater stability, as far as consumption is concerned. Although the last few months haven't been as good, the demand has been reactivated by the arrival of new potatoes."
Patatas Meléndez distributes its potatoes in Spain and other European countries, especially in France and Portugal, where they are growing strongly every year. During the spring's new potato season, they are exporting more and more to countries such as Germany and Belgium.