The Spanish-French-Italian-Portuguese tomato group met last Friday via videoconference in order to analyze the market situation and make forecasts for the coming months, as well as to address the main issues that are of concern to the sector, such as imported pathogens and the impact on the EU production of the growing imports from Morocco.
Regarding the sector's situation and the market forecasts, there has been concern about the low prices, despite the downward trend of the production in Italy and Spain. There is stability in France, where the volume for the campaign that is just starting is expected to range between 500,000 and 520,000 tons. In Spain, the production of winter tomatoes for fresh consumption has been estimated at 1.5 million tons and the forecasts for the summer campaign point to 600,000 tons. The Group also highlighted a growing market segmentation towards specialties, both small and very large varieties.
In the phytosanitary field, the sector's main concern is the impact of the pest called TOBRFV, which is imported through the seeds and whose country of origin has not yet been determined. In Spain, the pest was identified at the end of the year, and it has only affected a very limited area of greenhouses (approximately 5 hectares) after the necessary eradication measures were enforced, with no new cases detected. In France and the Netherlands, it is also being eradicated on a very limited area of greenhouses.
As far as the markets are concerned, there are clear concerns with the tomato imports from Morocco, given the crop's strategic importance for the three countries participating in the meeting (Portugal was absent). In this campaign, those imports have maintained the growing trend and are expected to exceed 500,000 tons, while the quota provided for in the Association Agreement is of 285,000 tons.