Scientists have been warning local consumers to be cautions consuming vegetables affected by the damp conditions because the products could be infected with mould and harmful bacteria. The hardest hit have been tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries and in some cases, the entire melon harvest has been compromised. Damages are the most visible in the market place, where tomatoes and melons are arriving mouldy and cracked.
The tomatoes produced by Marcoser and the local farmers from Matca are primarily for the domestic market. Valentin shared that the market has changed a lot in the last two years, after a market development scheme from the Ministry of Agriculture.
"In 2017 and 2018, support was offered to tomato producers, under the conditions that the yield of at least 2 kg/sqm is produced and delivered until the end of May for the first crop cycle.This encouraged a lot of people to start producing tomatoes, which in turn, brought down tomato prices," Valentin continued.
"The consumer market also changed a lot in the last few years. In the past, the biggest focus when choosing tomato varieties was resistance and shelf life, and recently there has been a shift to flavour and taste. In addition to the traditional red tomato; cherry, pink and yellow tomatoes are becoming more popular and offers stable prices for growers."