Tokita Sementi Italia, the Italian subsidiary of Tokita Seeds in Japan, is expanding its tomato presence in the European market. While it will retain a focus on special, innovative seeds, the goal is to grow niche products into mainstream items.

“With this program in Sicily, we are working on new markets for Italy and export in Europe,” said Gregorio Padula of Tokita Sementi Italia. “In the past, our breeding program was based on what was selling in Japan. But it's different when you work in the European market. In order to get more sales, you need to get into what the market is here.” European standards are different from Japanese ones, and more than just taste characteristics have to be taken into account when designing a mainstream tomato.

“When getting into bigger segments you have to get into what growers need,” said Padula. “When harvesting bigger quantities, you need certain characteristics, like a longer shelf life, for example.” In this new phase, Padula noted that the number of growers who have the same variety will still be limited in order to ensure that an over-abundance of the same tomato doesn't bring down the market for that variety.
“For us, it's not really about market competition, because nobody else has the kind of material we have,” said Padula. “It's more about finding a customer that's interested in selling a particular type of tomato.” The new varieties being developed are best suited for growing in the Mediterranean region of Europe, though those same varieties could find good growing climates in places like California and Mexico. The rest of Europe is also of interest, especially Poland, which Padula described as a big market but one with many challenges.


“It might sound strange, but we're trying to make these niche markets bigger,” said Padula. “We hope to increase the market for our specialty varieties, but we also want to always bring something new when proposing varieties that are suitable for the European system.”

For more information:
Gregorio Padula
Tokita Sementi Italia Srl
Tel.: +39 543 756143
Fax: +39 543 031496
Mobile: +39 333 1455111