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Spain - Reduction of potato production in island of Tenerife due to Guatemalan moth

Potato productions on the Spanish island of Tenerife are being affected by a Guatemalan moth (Tecia solanivora) pest. Faced with this exceptional situation, potato growers are considering the possibility of requesting extraordinary aid to compensate for the economic losses they will have to face.

The Association of Agricultural Producers and Cattlemen of the Canary Islands (Asaga Canarias) supports this idea, as stated in a press release. It claims that “the drop in the harvest, which in some cases exceeds 50%, translates into a reduction of the marketable volume. Consequently, the profitability of producers is also affected, especially that of professionals.”

The Guatemalan moth first arrived on the island in 1999, but this year the impact has been greater due to the anomalous weather conditions during the winter and spring, which have been marked by the high temperatures recorded and the lack of rainfall. These are favorable conditions for the growth of the populations of this insect, which attacks the tubers directly.

In order to keep the moth’s proliferation under control, Asaga Canarias stressed the importance of producers following “the protocol established by the Council of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Water of the Canary Islands Government.” This involves carrying out a series of tasks during the planting, cultivation and harvesting, as well as the carrying out of controls in the warehouses where the production is stored until its marketing.”

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