In its latest published report, the tomato working group, part of the "Group of Civil Dialogue for Horticulture and Olive Oil" of the European Commission, has offered its prospects for the summer campaign, predicting a stabilization of the acreage in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain and a slight reduction in Italy.
The acreage devoted to summer tomato cultivation in Italy stands at 18,900 hectares, with a production of 605,000 tons. In the Netherlands, in the period from April to November, the acreage is expected to amount to 1,800 hectares and the production to 765,000 tons, 11% of which corresponds to round tomatoes, 73% to on the vine tomatoes and 16% to specialties. In the Netherlands, the winter production is also significantly increasing, having grown by 33% over the last five years. In Spain, the prospect for this summer campaign is to harvest 650,000 tons from 8,200 hectares. In France, the forecast points to the acreage and the production reaching 2,131 hectares and 526,845 tons, respectively, and in Belgium, the acreage devoted to the summer tomato production last season amounted to 511 hectares.
As for Morocco, the tomato working group of the European Commission expects its production in the next campaign to amount to 815,000 tons grown on 5,240 hectares; an increase of 1% over the 806,000 tons of the previous season. 71% of the acreage is devoted to round tomatoes, 4% to on the vine tomatoes and 24% to specialties, including cherry tomatoes. Also noteworthy is the strong growth of imports from Turkey, with 107,799 tons in 2018.
In the 2018/2019 winter season, and according to the report from the European Commission, severe price volatility has been observed in all markets, especially for round tomatoes and in the period between April and September.
In 2018, the Netherlands consolidated as the EU's main supplier, with 948,654 tonnes, followed by Spain, with 777,244 tonnes. Morocco ranks third, with 547,584 tons, allocating 450,757 tons to the EU market.
At the meeting, FEPEX highlighted that the energy policies of the various member states are determining their competitiveness. Also, specialties are becoming trendier, while imports increasingly consist of round tomatoes. FEPEX also highlighted the negative impact that imported pests are having, as has been the case with the Tutta absoluta, causing a significant increase in the production costs and preventing access to third country markets.
During the meeting, some also expressed their strong concern about the spread of the "Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (TOBRFV) pest, which comes originally from Jordan and is currently present in Germany and Italy, having also been detected in Mexico and the United States.