The market for organic cherry tomatoes is not as it used to be after the rapid growth of production in Spain and other origins. According to David Caparrós, manager of Balcón de Níjar, "our product used to be sold only in small shops, where the product was appreciated and fairer prices were paid to the growers, but for several years now, big chains have been showing a growing commitment to organic products and this has changed the way prices are determined."From left to right: David Caparrós, manager of Balcón de Níjar; David Montoya, holding a box of organic cherry tomatoes and Antonio Riba.
According to the exporter, supermarkets have set a retail price that exceeds that of the conventional product by between 15% and 30%, which is not proportional to the much higher costs involved in organic production.
David affirms that the downward trend has been felt at the start of this campaign, with prices below those achieved in the same period of 2014. "As soon as the conventional production reaches the shelves in mid-October, the price of organic cherry tomatoes falls, regardless of supply, and in November, when there are large volumes of organic, prices plunge further," states David.
"It is true that there was a boom in demand in previous years and their cultivation was strongly encouraged by government agencies, but it is also true that production continues to increase at a faster rate than demand," he points out. Supermarkets continue to promote this trend, as they benefit the most from it, but if we continue like this, organic cherry tomatoes will soon cease to be attractive to producers."
Balcón de Níjar, which was founded in 2009 and has been exclusively devoted to cherry tomatoes since its start, now has year-round production, reaching 2.7 million kilos per year with a diversified production that includes small volumes of other organic crops, such as tomatoes on the vine, courgettes and watermelons. "In the area of Níjar, we produce from mid-October to late June, by which time production starts in our farms located in the mountains near Níjar; later, in August, production kicks off in Granada, where the campaign lasts until late October."
Cherry pear tomatoes, the most demanded
David Caparrós affirms that they are noticing increased demand for cherry pear tomatoes this year, to the detriment of the round cherry. "It appears that their greater sweetness has gained them the favour of large supermarket chains," he states.