It has forecast total annual imports (August-July) at 213,000 tonnes by the BPC, 6% up on last year. However, the figures do not tell the whole story, for the UK's imported new potato market is relatively inflexible and more so when the English crop takes over in June. Sources such as Cyprus, Egypt, Spain, the Balearics, Brittany and Israel match requirements that broadly keep the market in balance provided crops are harvested in succession. But if the weather causes crops to be lifted out of sequence, the initial effect is one of a shortage and high prices, followed by glut. Latest reports indicate the spring crops from Cyprus will arrive in the UK from early April through to June. Total exports are expected to reach 120,000t but the UK is set to receive only 25,000t. In Brittany the total area planted is around 10% less than last season, with exports forecast at 16,000t. It will be double last year's figure because of the effects of even later plantings. Italian shipments are expected to be stable at around 11,000t. Egypt's plantings are running late after the coldest weather for 15 years was recorded. The cold could not only delay lifting but also reduce yields, so that the European export figure will be about 10,000 tonnes less, at 140,000 tonnes. The UK is expected to receive some 27,000 tonnes, although health inspectors will still be keeping a sharp eye out for brown rot which curtailed shipments last year. Egypt has since increased the number of disease free areas from 22 to 27. The 16,000t Majorca crop to be exported to the UK will be similar, although the BPC questions where the 40% reduction in Maris Bard, replaced by Maris Peer, will fit as well seasonally. With the exception of Seville, the Spanish mainland is also running late, but total UK exports should reach 25,000t. Greece has also been hit by cold weather, so the only likely shipments will be bakers in June. However Portugal is expected to double to 120,000 tonnes. Israel, already exporting specialist potatoes, is expected to provide 5,000t of bakers in a total programme of 40,000t ­ 10% lower than last year. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}