W45: Tomato Update

In W45 in the tomato landscape, the World Processing Tomato Council reported a positive season for processing tomatoes in the Northern Hemisphere, with global production reaching 44.2 million metric tons (mmt), a 15% increase from the historical average of 40.6 million. The United States (US) and China, the two largest global production hubs, contributed to this growth. In California, US, around 11.5 mmt of tomato were harvested in 2023, despite logistical difficulties and unseasonal rains.

Due to the prolonged tomato season in Italy, Southern regions had harvest cycles of up to 130 days, which led to a slight decrease in national production of 5.35 to 5.4 mmt. Despite being the third global producer, Italy's tomato production is four percentage points below the three-year average. Spain is experiencing drought impacts, which contributed to the overall AMITOM countries' 11% production, reaching 16.9 mmt, less than 40% of global tomato production. European Union (EU) tomato producers produced 10.1 mmt, recovering 6% but maintaining a negative gap of over 10% on the region's potential.

The lack of tomato seeds and financial difficulties faced by Moroccan tomato growers are delaying the start of the season. The tomato export industry has suffered due to export restrictions and climate hazards. Some tomato growers have seen a 10% YoY decline in their growing areas and predicted a 25 to 30% YoY decline in volume. Despite these challenges, Morocco has advanced significantly as the leading supplier of tomatoes for European markets.

Moreover, Morocco's National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) has notified the EPPO Secretariat that the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (Tobamovirus, ToBRFV – EPPO A2 List) has been detected on its soil. The virus was first detected on Oct-21 in Souss-Massa and Mar-22 in Dakhla. During the 2022/23 season, ten outbreaks were confirmed on tomatoes grown in greenhouses, primarily from infected imported seeds.

On November 3, 2023, Rosselkhoznadzor officials in the Orenburg Region, Russia found the South American tomato moth in a 6.6 thousand-ton batch of fresh tomatoes from Uzbekistan. The discovery prompted a laboratory examination, confirming the presence of the pest in the tomatoes. Due to quarantine regulations, tomato imports were prohibited, and penalties were imposed. Since the start of 2023, the South American tomato moth has been detected 14 times in over 163 tons of imported products from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan.

Lastly, in Dharmapuri, India, tomato prices are rising, but low-quality seeds and unpredictable weather have left farmers dissatisfied. Over 6 thousand hectares (ha) of tomatoes are grown annually in the Dharmapuri district. Approximately 80% of plants have been lost because of poor seedling quality, and the weather has negatively impacted another 10%. As a result, the daily production of tomatoes has decreased from 100 to 120 tons.

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