The world’s tomato trade was worth US$9.16 billion in 2017, a 4.6% rise from 2016, but a drop of 0.9% from 2013. The EU imported $5.8 billion worth of the total (63.4%), followed by North America (28.5%), Asia (7.4%), Africa (0.3%), Latin America (0.3%) and Oceania (0.1%). In terms of countries, the US was far and away the world’s number-one importer of tomatoes in 2017, with volumes received totalling around US$2.5 billion – an increase of 2% on 2016. The next largest tomato importer was Germany, with imports remaining flat at US$1.48 billion.
Global tomato trade grew 4.6% in 2017
Study finds Belgian tomatoes to be “less costly” than Spanish
Belgian tomatoes found to be “less costly” than Spanish tomatoes. This is the finding of a master's thesis carried out by Ellen Peeters, who looked into the social and economic costs of importing tomatoes. Social costs are borne by society (congestion, accidents, air pollution, noise and climate change), rather than by the consumer. Peeters said, "When growing tomatoes in Belgium, external costs mainly consist of CO2 emissions, but these represent only 2% of the total cost. The remaining part is the production costs, which mainly consist of energy (31%) and labour (20%).
Outbreak of tomato brown rugose fruit virus (Tobamovirus- ToBRFV)
The EPPO has added the tomato brown rugose fruit virus to its Alert List. The virus (Tobamovirus, ToBRFV) was first identified on tomatoes in Jordan in 2015 (EPPO RS 2016/024), but outbreaks have recently occurred in Germany (EPPO RS 2019/012), in Italy (EPPO RS 2019/013) and in Mexico (EPPO RS 2019/014) where the virus causes major concerns for growers of tomato and capsicum.
CASI redoubles commitment to organic farming this campaign
CASI has doubled its organic area for this campaign, already exceeding 100ha. The cooperative currently has 50 certified members and 20 partners, with production area undergoing conversion, so the organic acreage will continue to grow. In the words of the technical manager of CASI’s organic department, Teresa Camacho, "This is a very important project for CASI, which our partners are welcoming with great enthusiasm. Proof of this is that we are growing each year with natural products that are healthy and respectful of the environment."
Moroccan farmers shift from tomatoes to other crops
Morocco’s farmers are increasingly moving away from tomatoes towards other crops, like bell peppers and blueberries. This comes as a response to the effects of last season’s drought and cold winter. Thousands of Moroccans were left unemployed last year, as the agricultural sector accounts for around 40% of the country’s workforce. Morocco was the fourth largest tomato exporter in the world in 2017, after Mexico, the Netherlands and Spain. Traditionally, much of the crop is shipped to the EU, with France the largest importer.
High hopes for second Prisco pink tomato campaign in Spain
Last year’s production of the highly-valued pink tomato of Hijar has reached 120,000 kilos. The product is mainly sold in the local markets and gourmet stores. The prospects for the second annual campaign are good, both in terms of volume and quality. The Prisco pink tomatoes of Híjar are characterised by their great flavour and texture, and are cultivated in the province of Teruel. Prisco tomatoes are grown in 11,000 m2 of greenhouses. This pink tomato is fleshy, irregular and with a particularly fine and delicate skin. It weighs between 800 g and 1 kg.
Western European tomato prices bottom out
With tomatoes available for weeks at low prices, supply has now declined across much of Western Europe. As a result, prices at the producer and wholesale level have increased significantly. Particularly low prices had been recorded for normal-sized vine tomatoes as well as loose and beef tomatoes. At the end of August, however, a turnaround is emerging. At the Veilingen in the Benelux, prices are now rising significantly, with reduced stocks. Producers and marketers expect smaller crops in the coming week, which suggests a stable-to-attractive price trend.
Higher average monthly prices for Spanish tomatoes in 2018
The start of the 2017/18 tomato season began late, especially the branch type, as a consequence of the delay in transplanting. The aim of a later transplant is to reduce the risk of viruses and reduce consumption of irrigation water. A later start to production leads to the shortening of the period of overlap between Dutch and Spanish tomato seasons, favouring prices in the first part of the campaign. In fact, the average prices of tomatoes in October, November and December were higher than those obtained in the two previous seasons.
Azerbaijan, the new leading supplier of tomatoes to Russia
Azerbaijan became the leading exporter of tomato to Russia, according to the figures of Federal customs service (January- June 2018). Morocco and China are other leaders. Turkey, who used to be the biggest exporter, exported 23,700 tons of tomatoes, rating the sixth. “Before the end of 2015, tomatoes were the first Turkish produce in terms of volume among all vegetables exported to Russia,” says Dmitriy Vostrikov, executive director of Rusprodsoyuz Association. “The country used to supply 360,000 tons, or half of all the tomatoes imported into Russia”.
Construction underway of giant tomato greenhouse in Suffolk
A giant tomato greenhouse is to begin operations in Suffolk, UK. In the first stage of a £30m project, Sterling Suffolk Ltd has built a huge Dutch-style glasshouse equal in size to eleven football pitches. The first tomatoes will be planted in December ready for harvesting from mid-February 2019. The tomato vines will be produced using hydroponics. It is environmentally friendly, with air-circulation systems and water-collection systems.