With the harvesting season in the Spanish region of Leon, the seasons in Andalusia and Extremadura and the short period of French imports plus the odd import from third countries, Palomero e Hijos S.L. maintains its supply of fresh potato throughout the year.
The company has two facilities in the municipal district of Villorio (Salamanca), one specialised in preparation and the other on the outskirts with a 7,000 ton storage capacity. The company also has two sales outlets in MercaSalamanca for more traditional, proximity sales. As well as potato, the company also commercialises garlic and onion.
It is active on the domestic and international market, although the domestic market is significantly more important and represents 80% of its trading volume. Exports go to Germany and France and are usually early potato crops. In contrast, the Portuguese market which is very well-established in the area gets its potato from the region. “We have had production in southern Spain for almost thirty years, and we generally use it for European export” says Julian Palomero, the firm’s manager.
Originally operating as a warehouse, the company’s activity in the domestic market is very diversified between operators and wholesale markets in all the regions from Galicia, to Asturias, Madrid and Barcelona.
The company’s global volume totals 30,000 tons of product.
The business activity also covers certified seed potato from Holland, Belgium and Spanish companies.
The current sowing season is taking place under the expected parameters and there is little difference to last season in relation to hectares under plantation. “But we are seeing a certain change in variety as Jaerla, which used to make up over 50% of our crops is being replaced by other varieties such as Agria, Carrera, Frisia, Bellini and Elodi. Now the varietal scene is starting to be, if that’s possible, more widely spread than it was a few years ago, because farmers want to improve crop profitability and they can.”
According to Palomero, the potato is the only crop which maintains prospects for the area’s farmers and they have the advantage of soil quality. However, due to the enormous supply in Europe, he does not think potato prices will be at their best throughout 2009.