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W20: Tomato Update

Updated May 25, 2023
W20: Tomato Update

In W20 in the tomato landscape, it was reported that there is an unusually high import volume of cucumbers and tomatoes in the 2022/23 off-season in the Georgian market due to local high tunnels, greenhouses, and increased demand. Delivery of open-ground vegetables dominated the Georgian market for three months. In Ukraine, Manusa F1 variety in Kharkiv Oblast leads the Slobozhanshchyna market for pink tomatoes due to its production and ease of growing, and it occupies more than 40% of the market in the pink market. Tomatoes and cucumbers are the most demanded vegetables in Belarus, but their prices are high. Imported fruits and vegetables can be twice as cheap as Belarusian tomatoes, but not all fruits are affordable.

The drought in Spain is affecting the horticultural sector, with growers relying on emergency irrigation to keep crops alive. Tomato cultivation is particularly vulnerable to drought, needing irrigation to survive. The tomato price in the EU rose slightly in April 2023 after a sharp decline. In the Netherlands, the price fell faster than normal. It hasn't been 'normal' on the tomato market for a few years, and the market must be resilient. However, the costs are higher than before, leading to concerns about consumption. The average kilo price in April 2023 in the Netherlands is higher than the five-year maximum due to a mediocre spring, making it difficult for growers to make up for lost kilos. The average price in Spain in April was USD 1.91/kg (EUR 1.77/kg), and production will end in southern Spain, but some growers can still continue until the end of May/beginning of June 2023. The price of tomatoes in Italy also rose in April 2023.

Nigerian tomato growers are facing a 90% loss due to a Tuta absoluta infestation, which has caused prices to increase. NIHORT and FMARD worked on solutions in 2015, but the situation snowballed in 2023, leading to the loss of entire crops. Producers are required to put the IPM program in place until a better solution is found. Traders predict that the scarcity of the tomato supply will last until late September or early October 2023. The value of Moroccan tomatoes imported into the EU increased by 12% YoY and 21.8% over the last 5 years, reaching USD 156.43/100kg (EUR 145.18/100 kg). The Tomato Contact Group concluded that the uncontrolled growth of imports from Morocco and the EU's crop protection and packaging policies threatens the European tomato sector. They requested the repeal of regulations proposed by the European Commission and exceptional aid of up to 10% of the value of the tomatoes sold. In addition, the forecasts for the summer season showed a downward trend of 5% due to lower production of tomatoes.

In India, tomato farmers in Kurnool and Nandyal districts (Andhra Pradesh) plan to reduce their crop area due to losses. They produce 350KT of tomatoes a year, but the government is not responding to requests for support. In the open market, the selling price of tomatoes is USD 0.85-0.97/25kg (INR 70-80/25kg). In addition, tomato farmers in India have adopted crop diversification and switched to vegetable cultivation to address the challenges faced by tomato growers due to unstable prices, lack of processing units, and poor market systems. The Tunisian government has taken measures to reduce water use and export certain crops, such as tomatoes, to Libya, hence this has led to growers giving up their crops in favor of strategic crops promoted by the government. Lastly, in the United States, experts predict that the prices of tomato products will go up by 30% after winter storms. California has experienced 12 atmospheric rivers, resulting in 78T tons of water being dropped on the state. Farmers are delaying planting and may not be able to plant in time. 

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