Importers warn of a shortage of potatoes in the Canary Islands

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 29-08-2023
  • Business
  • Photo Credit: Pexels
Importers warn of a shortage of potatoes in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are preparing for a potato shortage after shipments from the UK have been stopped due to the presence of a plague of Colorado beetles in crops. It is still unknown how long the supply interruption will last, but there will be no potatoes from the UK ‘for a while’, possibly until January, until it is resolved.

This situation has forced the regional government to explore new avenues for fear of a shortage in the Islands. The United Kingdom is the main importer of potatoes in the Archipelago, with over 86% of the imports of vegetables, plants, roots and tubers last year according to data from the Canary Islands Institute of Statistics (ISTAC), coming from the UK.

But the ships loaded with potatoes have stopped due to the presence of the Colorado beetle, an insect capable of completely devouring crops and which, due to its high presence in other parts of the world, has developed resistance to most insecticides.

Importers warn of a shortage of potatoes in the Canary Islands

The president of the Association of Seed and Crop Potato Distributors of Las Palmas (ADIPA), Juan Luis Pulido, said: “We are screwed. England provides a huge amount of potatoes that it will not be possible to replace in the coming weeks from other countries. Those markets are not prepared to make a harvest of such magnitude in such a short time. Right now, we are looking at every market we can. But it is complicated.”

The Canarian Government announced yesterday (Monday) that it will seek to replace the loss of supply from the UK with that of countries such as Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, Libya, or Malta. They are also looking at other parts of the UK including Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

"Importers have begun to move shipments and containers with potatoes from other countries. This week the market will be regulated and next week the British potato will be replaced with potatoes from other countries. We only anticipate a few adjustments over the next week or so”, said the spokesman for the Canary Islands Government, Alfonso Cabello.