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US (CA): Tomato supplies down
Quantities of California tomatoes may be down this year as some growers have chosen to forgo tomatoes in favor of other crops which garner higher prices.
Volumes will be down, said Tim McCarthy, general manager of MCC farms and CEO of the Merced-based Central California Tomato Growers Cooperative. He anticipates this year's production to be about 10 percent lower than last year's, mostly due to growers opting for crops with more attractive prices.
“Growers have chosen to grow less tomatoes,” he said. “Planting decisions are based on price, and growers have chosen to go with other crops like cotton or corn.”
Despite lower production, favorable weather will most likely lead to good yields and good quality, he added. Consequently, there will be enough tomatoes for market demand. With plenty of supplies, prices will be competitive.
“For tomatoes, if it isn't cheap, people aren't going to buy,” said McCarthy. A big part of how this season will turn out will depend on the economy, he added.
“The food service sector is a big part of the market,” he said. “If the economy doesn't pick up, people don't go out to eat, and that means less tomatoes consumed. So it's a matter of the economy.”
The season will open up around June 15 and should continue into November.
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