According to a report recently prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Energy, through the Rural Development Institute (IDR), within the framework of Mendoza's summer horticultural survey program, the area cultivated with tomatoes in the province of Mendoza increased by 29.5% to a total of 3,757 hectares.
"This surface includes the production of pear or industrial tomatoes, round tomatoes with a long shelf life, and Platense round tomatoes. However, 92% of the surface is planted with industrial tomatoes," the report states, highlighting that tomatoes account for 20% of the province's summer horticultural surface and that they are the third most cultivated species, after potatoes (27%) and squash (24%).
The Uco Valley region has the highest production, specifically the department of Tunuyan, with 710 hectares. It is followed by San Martín, Lavalle, San Carlos, and Maipú, with 660 hectares, 587 hectares, 418 hectares, and 388 hectares, respectively.
Tomato is one of the country's most important vegetables. According to the report, the main producing areas are Mendoza and San Juan (the region of Cuyo concentrates 80% of the country's production), followed by Salta and Jujuy (Noa region), Corrientes and Formosa (NEA), Rio Negro, and Buenos Aires.
The market is divided into fresh market and industry. In recent years, Argentina has produced nearly 1,100,000 tons of tomatoes a year in 17,000 productive hectares. Approximately 60-70% of the production is destined for fresh consumption, and the remaining 30% to 40% is destined for the industry. Based on the latest data published by FAO, in 2020, Argentina had 16,690 hectares devoted to this crop and produced 656,529 tons of tomatoes.
As for the tomato industry, domestic production is well below domestic demand. The demand is generally covered with the Chilean and Italian products, which clearly shows there are opportunities for expansion to achieve self-sufficiency. Argentina uses some 650 million kilos of tomato a year for industrial purposes, and, in a normal season, the local harvest reaches 450 million kilos, which means there is a gap of more than 40%.