According to the European Commission's “Report on short-term prospects for agricultural markets in 2020” corresponding to the summer of 2020, the EU's production of fresh tomatoes will fall by 2% in 2020 due to the 7 % reduction of the production in Spain. This is due to the fact that Spanish producers are switching to more profitable greenhouse vegetables. At the same time, the production in Poland is expected to increase due to latest investments in greenhouses.
The production from other countries will remain stable. Yields, according to the Commission, have been lower because the farms have focused on the production of smaller tomatoes with higher added value, but this will be offset by the expansion of the winter productions. The Commission expects tomatoes for industrial processing to grow by 1%.
Regarding consumption, the report shows that the coronavirus and the closure of the Horeca channel have caused a decrease in the consumption of round tomatoes that has pushed prices down. At the same time, consumption at home has increased, particularly for small tomatoes. In general, the consumption of fresh tomatoes in the EU is expected to fall by a slight 1% in 2020 compared to 2019.
The EU's exports of fresh tomatoes in the period from January to April have been reduced by 20% due to COVID-19 (due to logistical problems and higher transportation costs). In general, the prospect is that in 2020, EU tomato exports will fall by 7% and stand 13% below the average of the last five years.
At the same time, the EU's imports of fresh tomatoes are expected to continue increasing in 2020, growing by 3% compared to 2019 and by 11% compared to the average of the last five years.
According to the Commission, “while Morocco accounts for the largest share of imports by far (71% in 2019), imports from Turkey (which accounted for 17% of EU imports in 2019) were the fastest-growing in January-April, with a 37% increase compared to the same period last year. Imports from Morocco have increased by only 3%, as they have been more affected by the logistical difficulties related to COVID-19.”
For FEPEX, the EU's regulatory framework, with increasingly demanding environmental, health, social and labor requirements, (which are also necessary), is a constraint on Europe's production potential and encourages imports, since it is not compulsory for third countries to apply the same regulations.