According to the European Commission’s short term agricultural outlook, EU tomato production is forecast to decline in 2022, down 9% year-on-year (y-o-y), to 16.5m tonnes. Processing tomato production is forecast down 14% y-o-y, to 10.1m tonnes. Prolonged periods of dry weather in top producing countries (Italy and Spain) are expected to have driven this drop in production. Many growers also faced irrigation challenges due to water shortages, particularly in Northern Italy, which has further driven the decline in production estimates.
Furthermore, rising costs of fuel and fertilisers prompted many farmers to review their financial strategies in 2022, with some reportedly offsetting the impact by buying less fertiliser than usual, or reducing planting areas. Additionally, greenhouses are essential for the sustainable cultivation of tomatoes across the EU, as natural gas, electricity and diesel are key inputs to keep them running, specifically for heating, maintenance and watering systems. The substantial pressure of rising costs has resulted in many vegetable producers being forced to cease production, leading to the lower availability of supplies in 2022. The price of Spanish round tomatoes was up 29.4% week-on-week (w-o-w) and 30.0% year-on-year (y-o-y) on the 7th of September at EUR 1.3/kg.