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Juan Manuel Coello, Commercial Director of Patatas Meléndez:

"The short early potato season and the delay in the harvest in Castile-Leon could cause a gap in the supply"

The early potato season is practically over in the Spanish regions of Andalusia and Murcia, which have had shorter than usual campaigns due to this year's low yields. This, together with the fact that the harvest in Castile-Leon was delayed because of the cold weather, means that there won't be overlapping and there could actually be a small gap in the supply over the next few weeks.

"The early potato season is already over and this week we are starting with the harvest from Castile-La Mancha, with which we'll be working for around a week," says Juan Manuel Coello, Commercial Director of Patatas Meléndez.

"Andalusia and Murcia have had a short potato season due to significantly lower yields, partly a consequence of an overall reduction in sizes. We started in April, earlier than usual, and with strong demand that made this year's shortage even more evident," he says.

According to Coello, although there were problems with the supply of seeds this year, the area planted in the south of Spain is similar to last season's. "In our case, we have even expanded our acreage. There has been a shortage of certain seeds of popular varieties, so their cost has increased, and in general, people have ended up opting for other varieties. Although the reduction in the harvest has caused the costs per kilo to increase, potato sales prices have reached record highs and have made up for the low supply."

After the La Mancha potato season, Patatas Meléndez hopes to continue with the harvest in Castile-Leon, the most important potato growing region in Spain. "It has been colder than usual, and we've even had some frosts, so crops in Castile-Leon are not developing as quickly as we would have liked. Therefore, there will be no overlap with other growing areas and there could be some gaps in the supply at the beginning," says Juan Manuel Coello.

"The market won't be distorted by well-planned imports at specific times"
The increase in Europe's imports from Egypt has caused some controversy. "In our case, we do buy some potatoes from this country aimed at certain retail segments, but our purchases are well-planned in terms of varieties and volumes and the global supply isn't distorted by it. In fact, it results in higher logistical costs. Nonetheless, there are also lines intended for wholesale markets, in which we play no part, where unwashed potatoes are introduced in sacks, without any planning, and which do upset the market balance," says Coello.

"We are facing a season with record-breaking prices, and things have already been good for us for several years due to the high profitability of this crop for the entire value chain. I believe that every origin has its own market and its own time, depending on customer demand. When there is not enough volume available in Spain, some turn to other origins in the Mediterranean arc, despite their higher costs, while others opt for potatoes from storage. As leading potato producers in Spain, we can say that the majority of our clients prioritize the domestic product because it is now at its best in terms of quality."

"Our exports are growing".
With an annual production of around 200,000 tons, Patatas Meléndez is the largest potato producer in Spain, although it also has farms and packing plants in France and Portugal. "Our exports are growing, and we are actually expecting a good demand from central and northern European countries in July and August, which is a good sales period for us. We are also working on the development of new product lines which will be launched in barely a month," says the Commercial Director of Patatas Meléndez.

For more information:
Patatas Meléndez
Tel.: +34 983 812 920
[email protected]

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