The price of potatoes drops by 40% as British market reopens

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 27-09-2023
  • National
  • Photo Credit: C7
The price of potatoes drops by 40% as British market reopens

The announcement of the end of restrictions on potato imports from the UK has already had a positive impact on potato prices, according to the Association of Supermarkets of the Canary Islands (Asuican), who have reported that during the period of the ban on British potato imports, the average price of potatoes had risen to 2.60 euros per kilo, while locally-produced potatoes reached as high as 5 euros per kilo in some stores.

Asuican says that prices have now dropped to approximately 1.60 euros per kilo, representing a nearly 40% reduction compared to the average price during the import restrictions and a significant 68% decrease from their peak.

However, it's worth noting that this reduced price still slightly exceeds the pre-restriction levels, as the Colorado beetle plague had halted imports from the UK.

Asuican suggests that this price reduction may not be final and could continue to decrease as British potato imports are combined with shipments from countries such as Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Denmark in the coming weeks or months. These additional imports were initially secured to combat a possible shortage of potatoes in the islands.

The lifting of the import ban followed an extensive process involving numerous meetings between the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and its UK counterpart.

The Minister of Agriculture for the Canary Islands, Narvay Quintero, explained that the complementary and temporary measures imposed by the Spanish Government on British potato imports were deemed necessary to mitigate the potential impact of a Colorado beetle infestation.

These measures focus on product packaging and labelling to enhance phytosanitary guarantees until the situation normalizes. These measures will remain in place until the UK is confirmed to be free from the beetle infestation, which is currently contained to the county of Kent.

Furthermore, Quintero stressed that British potatoes must undergo a thorough cleaning process, including brushing and washing, to eliminate all traces of soil and harmful organisms. The acceptable percentage of soil content in imported potatoes will be limited to 0.5%, among other precautions.

With the British potato market reopening and measures in place to safeguard against the Colorado beetle, consumers can expect continued drops in potato prices, which may further decrease as additional imports arrive from various countries. This development is undoubtedly a positive one for both consumers and the agricultural industry in the Canary Islands.