Eduardo Arroyo, president of the Association of Potato Producers of Castilla y León (Appacyl), said the area devoted to this crop could decrease by up to 20% this new season.
"Fertilizers are worth more than double than last year and nitrogen prices tripled. Producers will take refuge in other crops, such as peas or sunflower, so instead of growing 20 hectares of potatoes, they will divide this area and grow other products." The biggest problem, he added, is the increase in energy costs. Contracts are close to 120% higher than last year, so producers are thinking about growing crops that have fewer watering needs, such as sunflowers.
According to Arroyo, the cost of planting potatoes went from 6,500-7,000 euro last season to a whopping 8,000-8,500 euro this year. "This difference has to be covered with an increase in the price of the contracts. It's not worth it if we're unable to cover a very important part of them."
This is not the first time that the sector has dealt with an increase in diesel prices. "What we've never seen are 30% cost increases in just 100 days. We don't think prices will be regulated during 2022. It feels like they are here to stay. It would be an aberration if energy prices are not regulated."
Producers aren't buying seeds
"People are not asking for seed because they don't know what to do," stated the president of UPA Ávila, Ventura González.
"Costs have increased by 800 euro or more over the previous campaign and the price of the potato remains the same, so it is not interesting to bet on it. It's better not to sow potatoes if you are only going to make about 300 euro of profit. It's just not profitable."