The Canary tomato sector has managed to overcome the pandemic with rather acceptable figures. The campaign came to a close at Easter, a month earlier than normal due to a reduction in the harvest, with exports reduced by 18%. A total of 33,682 tons were sold abroad, compared to 41,331 a year earlier.
However, as of January 1, 2021, the UK will definitely leave the EU, and the Canary Islands will say goodbye to all the aid it has been receiving for the production and export of its crops to the United Kingdom.
Given the challenging scenario that the tomato sector is facing and its intention to reduce the production so as not to be left with unsold tomatoes next season, which starts in October and ends in May, the Government of the Canary Islands has announced that it will protect tomato growers, its crops and the employment the sector generates, which is key in some municipalities of the islands. Therefore, in the event that Brexit means the end of Canary tomato exports to the United Kingdom, the Government of the Canary Islands will cover the value of the productions intended for that market between January 1 and May. A total of 3 million Euro will be allocated to this end.
For its part, the Spanish Ministry of Public Works has decided to transform the compensations for transport allocated annually into "aid for market adaptation".
The subsidy will amount to 0.15 Euro per kilo exported over the next 4 years, which is estimated at around 3 million Euro. The sector will have to use that money to find solutions, such as cheaper transport arrangements or the search for new markets.
The Government of the Canary Islands has also asked Brussels for an increase in the amount of aid received by the sector per hectare and for the crop's marketing in the framework of the POSEI, following a study that revealed a sharp increase in costs because of the rise in the Minimum Interprofessional Wage. The goal is for the aid per hectare to go from 15,000 to 24,000 Euro, and for the aid for the crop's marketing to increase by 15% so that the sector can remain competitive.