The Councillor of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Water of the Canary Islands, Narvay Quintero, stated that the tomato sector "continues to contribute significantly to the income and employment of the Canarian population," despite the difficulties of recent years, as revealed by recent studies by the University of La Laguna. He added that, this year, the Council of Agriculture expects a new strategic plan to be given shape with the collaboration of both producers and workers, which aims to relaunch the sector in the medium and long term.
Narvay Quintero affirmed that two recent analyses on costs and economic impact released by the University of La Laguna show that, over the last 8 years, the tomato sector has generated 80 million Euro per year, which equals 0.22% of the gross value added of the Canarian economy.
The Councillor highlighted the impact of tomato crops to stop erosion and desertification. In turn, he acknowledged the important role of this activity in the economy of certain municipalities, such as La Aldea de San Nicolás, Agüimes, Buenavista or Granadilla. In areas like La Aldea de San Nicolás, this product has a great socio-economic importance and gives employment to more than two thirds of the population; even more if indirect activities are taken into account.
He also noted that these studies will make it possible to design a new plan with effective measures for the sector, to be implemented in July next year, which will feature an increase in the amount of aid per hectare, set at 11,000 Euro for the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, after the amendment of the Community Program to Support the Agricultural Production of the Canary Islands (POSEI).
Quality, through aspects such as food safety or supply guarantees, is one of the most important issues. It also defends the application of environmentally-friendly cultivation practices, as well as the use of traceability systems that ensure health guarantees at all stages of the production process.
Agricultural innovation is another aspect to be taken into account, while stressing the need to channel the Canary production towards those market segments willing to pay a price in line with production costs.