Submerged in the worst crisis in their 130 years of history, Canarian tomato producers are thinking about converting their crops to medicinal cannabis so they can mitigate the destruction of the 5,000 jobs that depend on the tomato sector in the archipelago.
The production of tomatoes for export has fallen continuously on the islands throughout the last decades. At the end of the 1990s, the Canary Islands produced 305,000 tons of tomatoes. In 2020, they produced less than 45,000 tons. In addition, in 2010, the tomato accounted for 10% of the islands' GDP, whereas it now accounts for less than 3%.
According to Cannabis Magazine, Canarian tomato growers met with the Minister of Treasury, Roman Rodríguez, to coordinate an aid plan for the reconversion of the 352 hectares of tomatoes that still exist on the islands. It should be noted that in less than 20 years, 3,000 hectares of tomato cultivation have disappeared due to the lack of institutional and political work to keep a competitor, such as Morocco, at bay after this country signed an association agreement with the EU in 1996 that has allowed it to get a grasp of half of the European winter market.
According to the first meeting between the companies and the Government, part of the aid program would be used to compensate the workforce that cannot be relocated to new activities.
Sources from the Ministry of Finance consulted by Cannabis Magazine highlighted that the Canary Islands' weather conditions would allow producing cannabis for scientific and medical purposes and research centers.