Producers will start harvesting potatoes in Cordoba in the coming weeks. The area devoted to this crop in this province has decreased considerably in the last two decades.
According to official data published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development, at the end of 2020, the province had a total of 770 hectares planted with potatoes (10% less than the total area planted in Andalusia). However, this area is 4.7 times smaller than the more than 3,600 hectares that the province devoted to this crop 20 years ago.
This drop in production in the province is due, as with other products, to a lack of profitability as a result of low prices and high production costs.
Pedro Delgado is a farmer with a small farm of about 6 hectares located between Villarrubia and Encinarejo that has been planting potatoes for 40 years. “At the beginning of the 80s when I started working in Cordoba, there were two campaigns for this crop, one in spring and one in winter,” he stated. “We no longer do that. The potatoes that were produced here were sold in this area. Now, these products come from the Netherlands or France and it’s impossible to compete with their prices.”
According to Pedro, the main cause of the progressive loss of surface area is the lack of profitability. “This crop requires a large investment and you have to be very vigilant to prevent it from being affected by pests and to detect possible damage caused by the rains.” In addition, potato prices are very variable in the markets. “Producer can receive 0.4 euro per kilo in a year. That price can drop to 0.07 euros in the following campaign. Thus, producers plant olive or orange trees that provide them with more stable prices and gives them greater security.”
“The future of the potato in Cordoba depends on the suppliers taking charge of the cultivation. In addition, the administrations must protect producers more so they don’t have losses and establish minimum prices to guarantee their profitability. Otherwise, this crop will disappear in our province,” he stated.