The Shortage of Tomatoes in Spain is Rising Prices to All-Time High Levels

Published Jan 31, 2023
Spain is witnessing a continuous fall in tomato production and exports due to adverse weather conditions, water shortages, and rising input costs. Furthermore, tomato supplies over the winter season, when supply is at its low, have been more pronounced this year, affecting prices and increasing them at all-time highs. The 2022/23 Spanish tomato season started with elevated prices with a 54% MoM increase and has kept increasing since then. Besides the increase in price, tomato production in Spain is in jeopardy as main producing regions such as Seville and Almeria are facing serious water shortages and fierce competition from Moroccan tomatoes.

Prolonged periods of dry weather in top-producing countries, Spain and Northern Italy, primarily drove the drop in tomato production last year. Additionally, many growers faced irrigation challenges due to water shortages, particularly in Seville, Almeria, and Huelva, which has further caused the decline in production estimates. Rising costs of fuel and fertilizers prompted many farmers to review their financial strategies in 2022, with some reportedly offsetting the impact by buying less fertilizer than usual or reducing planting areas.

According to Carlos Iborra, Tridge’s Origination Manager in Spain, Spain is experiencing a shortage of tomatoes due to adverse weather conditions, particularly in winter. “Spanish tomato supply is at its lowest during the coldest weeks of the year, which are typically between W2 and W14”, he explained. Starting in spring, supply quantities experience a recovery due to the increase in temperature and the hours of sunshine. “This year, however, the low supply weeks are much more pronounced due to the adverse weather conditions suffered, especially severe drought in the largest producing areas. The lower-than-usual supply is affecting price levels that are at all-time highs,” he added.

There are some tomato-producing areas that could even lose 60% of production. The production of industrial tomatoes and peppers in Seville, the largest producing region in Spain for both vegetables, is in jeopardy due to the lack of guaranteed availability of irrigation water, which could affect 6,200 of the 6,400 hectares dedicated to both products in the Province. Tomato represents more than 130 million euros for the province, and more than 8 million euros in wages, along with about 20 million in transportation, planting, and other investments

According to Tridge’s benchmark data, the price for cherry varieties in Spain recorded an all-time high at USD 2.45/kg in W4, a 54% MoM increase, and a 66% YoY increase. In fact, the 2022/23 Spanish tomato season started with elevated prices when by W40 of 2022, the price rose to USD 1.54/kg, a 54% increase from the previous month and a 20% YoY increase. Spanish tomato prices have since then kept increasing to the current all-time high.

The drop in tomato production in Spain and the price increase will provide an opportunity for suppliers such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey to gain greater market share in European markets. Spain, particularly, is witnessing a continuous fall in tomato production and exports, especially after Brexit. There was a gradual fall in tomato exports to the UK market due to increased competition from Morocco. According to the EU commission report, Spain’s advantage over Morocco in the context of tomato exports has decreased. In the last 10 years, Spain has decreased its tomato exports by more than 40%. Morocco will most likely become a major alternative tomato supplier to importers of Spanish tomatoes.

By clicking “Accept Cookies,” I agree to provide cookies for statistical and personalized preference purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our Privacy Policy.