In the current unpromising economic climate, export of Mallorca potato is also suffering. Together with the falling pound in the company’s main market Great Britain, the harvest is also slightly delayed because of the persistent rainfall in January and February which led to some crops being planted later.
Despite these complications, Company stresses that “we will be managing each week as best we can, but right at this moment we have to push the harvest because exports have begun already. Now it is the client who is more important rather than the highest yield per hectare.”
“In Esplet we don’t plant any potatoes that are not already sold in advance. Our seasons are completely planned from October. After securing commercial deals with the best sales management, the only problem remaining is what the clearance with farmers will be.
Annual exports for early and very early potato from Sa Pobla are in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes. Last year, the crop was especially plentiful amounting to 24,000 tonnes, 14,000 of which Esplet sold to foreign markets.
Since its creation in 1993, the company has experienced continual growth and its main business has been in the export of quality potatoes for specialist segments. “Our business philosophy has always been based on long-term policies that can guarantee the sector’s survival.”
Of the 500 hectares belonging to cooperative members dedicated to the cultivation of early crops, the star variety is Maris Peer present in 70% of plantations.
Major export destinations are the United Kingdom (the supermarket Tesco has been one of its most important clients for more than a decade now), Scandinavian countries and Germany. As far as the preferences of each market are concerned, Company comments “today, everything is changing so fast that it is becoming increasingly difficult to say with certainty that the British prefer white potatoes; the differences are more between clients rather than countries and this is why we do what each niche of the market requires.”
As a supplier of Tesco, Esplet has NatureChoice certification as well as GlobalGap and BRC.
Company, who also represents Asaja on a national level and in Brussels, insists that what makes Esplet stand out is their R&D&I within the context of a long-term strategic vision. “We have collaboration agreements with various universities (Barcelona, Cambridge, the Balearic Islands) and with different institutions such as CSIC. With the latter we are currently involved in a joint project on nematodes.
On the other hand, Company affirms that he is more concerned about the profitability of land and the fact that the next generation is not taking over farms, than pressure from urban planning because the islands already have a very sophisticated environmental protection policy in place.
Currently, the cooperative is busy expanding its facilities.