Med aims to fill the gap Mediterranean new potato producers are planning to plant more to take advantage of a shortfall in European markets in the spring. This year reports of lower European yields and damage came too late to affect early plantings. Cyprus is expecting a more normal crop after two poor seasons, but the result still hinges on sufficient rain. Planting of the spring crop will take place in December, with the most likely scenario a maximum of 50,000 tonnes likely to be exported to the UK. There will be a 20% increase in the Spanish and Majorcan crop. A British Potato Council survey states: "It is speculated that up to 10,000 hectares could be planted providing 150,000 tonnes or more of extra production." Egypt has still to formally agree its disease free areas so in theory no exports will be allowed, although approval is expected for some regions in time to allow shipments to begin before Christmas Meanwhile exporters have established a self imposed quota which will allow between 150,000 and 160,000 tonnes of new potatoes to be shipped to the EU, of which no more than a third is expected to go to the UK. If markets are short in February and there have been no problems with Brown Rot, there will be sufficient supplies to plant more. Israel has been gradually expanding its export trade and shipped 15,000 tonnes to the UK this year. With initial arrivals expected next week, mainly specially designated baby potatoes grown for the multiples, the BPC estimates this year's figure could reach 20,000 tonnes. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}