The EC predicts slight slowdown in fresh tomato production and consumption

The European Commission expects the EU's fresh tomato production to fall. In 2018, the total volume stood at 6.9 million tons; a figure that is expected to drop to 6.7 million tons by 2030, according to the report on the agricultural prospects for the EU from 2018 to 2030. This document also points to the domestic consumption falling from the current 14.5 kilos per person to 13.6 kilos.

Despite the slight drop in the production, the EC expects the average yield to increase "thanks to the installation of artificial light in the greenhouses and the extension of the season in the most important producing countries." The traditional summer season of the northern countries has been expanded and the traditional winter season in the southern countries has been extended to the summer.

Over the last ten years, the EU's fresh tomato exports have been reduced by 0.3% every year, mainly as a result of the introduction of the Russian veto in 2014. However, it is expected that exports will increase to 200,000 tons by 2030. This is 1.6% more than the average of the past five years.

The Commission also expects that tomato imports, particularly from Morocco and Turkey, will continue to grow. The projected growth is 0.4% per year until 2030, taking into account the capacity of these countries to increase their productions. According to FEPEX, this is a rather conservative estimate, looking at the huge difference in regulations in the field of labor and phytosanitary requirements between the EU and these two countries. The report does not deal with the consequences that the growth of imports from these third countries could have for the southern EU member states, due to the overlap in the cultivation periods.

With regard to Brexit, the Commission estimates that the United Kingdom accounts for 0.5% of the EU's total tomato production. The country is a net importer of the product. The United Kingdom is the most important market for EU tomato exports, accounting for 72% of the total. The United Kingdom's biggest suppliers are the Netherlands and Spain, which accounted for 85% of the total EU-27 exports in the 2017/2018 season. Tomato exports from the United Kingdom to the EU are small and mostly intended for Ireland.


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