Canary Islands

Spain: Early potato harvest in danger due to lack of treated water

The 20 million kilo early potato harvest is in danger due to shortages in the supply of treated water from the company Emalsa. Juan Antonio Hernández, head of the Canary Islands of the Coordinator of Growers and Livestock farmers (COAG) warned that the insurers of the said crops will take legal action against Emalsa in case the harvest, which is just a month away, cannot be saved, as irrigation is fundamental during the current stage.

Both growers and representatives of the Insular Water Council, which is in charge of supplying the former with treated water, agreed on the fact that the daily supply has more than halved, from 11,000 cubic metres to the current 5,000.

Short cycle
"It is causing us huge damage and ruining this harvest, because early potatoes have a short cycle of approximately three and a half months, and water shortages at the final stage can lead to everything being lost. The potatoes were planted two and a half months ago and we are now at that key stage," complained Hernández, who has around 7,500 kilos of potatoes in the ground and fears the loss of all his effort. The potato crops suffering from water shortages take approximately 1,000 hectares.

The spokesperson also mentioned how, in addition to the issues with treated water, growers are also facing "the consequences of a great drought. There is not much water in the market and the one to be found is twice as expensive as that supplied by the Insular Water Council." An hour of water in the private market costs between 25 and 30 Euro, while the Council sells it for 15 Euro.


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