The tomato campaign in Las Vegas Altas, in the Spanish region of Extremadura, which will last until about September 20 with the harvest of the late plantations, has been strongly marked by meteorological events. There has been a considerable reduction in the production, both due to damage from heavy rains and hail, as well as to the impact of diseases.
This has been reported by Herminio Íñiguez, president of the producers' association Agryga de Villanueva de la Serena. He says that the production per hectare is going to drop considerably "and the factories will have to deal with a shortage of tomatoes in a year in which all the tomato concentrate is being sold at expensive prices."
The manager of the San Isidro de Villanueva cooperative, Francisco Gómez, says that with 60% of the campaign completed, between 15 and 20% of the harvest is estimated to have been lost. "This doesn't mean that the grower will be earning more, at least this year," as prices are set in advance in contracts.
In fact, as Íñiguez points out, "the situation this year is going to be really dramatic for some growers, as some will harvest between 30,000 and 40,000 kilos per hectare, when about 80,000 kilos are needed to cover the production costs."
In the next season, producers expect the higher demand for tomatoes to be reflected in price increases. However, Francisco Gómez is not entirely convinced, since he acknowledges that there is "great uncertainty ahead. If it doesn't rain, we'll see if the tomatoes can be planted. Nevertheless, even if it rains, as long as prices don't change, many will consider not sowing." For this reason, he says that this year will be a turning point for the crop, "given the losses and the low prices."