Tomato grower Wim Vertommen:

"Belgium: "Good moments on tomato market fewer all the time"

In the tomato trade it is going better than last year when there was the EHEC-crisis, but even so the season is not altogether good. This as told by the Belgian tomato grower Wim Vertommen. "With tomatoes it is more difficult all the time for growers to receive a good margin. For about four years now there has been structurally too much product on the market and we remain in this vicious circle. Of course there are periods that things go better when the production is less and the weather good, but these moments are becoming less and less," the grower sighs. 
"Almost always production is at a high level and this immediately puts pressure on prices. At the moment the middle-price for Elite tomatoes on the vine is about
68 cents this season and the market price is 40 cents. The best months normally are at the start of the season, but if we in this short period have to save up in order to increase the middle price, then that is not sufficient. The last few years the return has been too low and expenses increase and everybody hopes that it will improve. Growers are forced to economise in a number of ways, which actually is not possible."

Better balance supply and demand
"We should arrange a healthier market and a better balance between demand and supply. The production increases all the time, also in Germany. Perhaps we should follow the French example, where cultivation has been structured better. The French still choose for taste and not for the best producing varieties, which are popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the long term France will be better off. This has also to do with the local consumption and the bigger margins. The trade advantages also end up more at the growers."

"The largest production and the lowest price is not the development we are looking for. More the nicer the product, the more one will eat of it. Does the consumer want the varieties we produce now? We are forced to leave taste out of this. We could also look at specialities, for which the consumer will pay as a matter of course, as long as it is tasty. Then money is not at all important. We will have to end up with a tasty tomato and sufficient return!"

For more information:
Wim Vertommen
0032 15 76 12 60

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