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55% of Canary tomatoes exported to British market

Fernando Clavijo, President of the Government of the Canary Islands, participated in an event in the port of Southampton, UK, to celebrate the 130 years of Canary Island tomato exports to the British market.

"The role that tomatoes play in our economy will become even more important in the coming years," affirmed Clavijo at an event attended by the presidents of the Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Products of the province of Las Palmas (Fedex) and the Association of Exporting Harvesters of Tenerife (Aceto).

The president stressed that the tomato sector has generated € 80 million per year for the Canary economy since 2008, despite the fact that "the last ten years have been very difficult and the number of jobs has been reduced to a third since the start of the crisis."

"Tomatoes continue to contribute significantly to the income and employment of the Canary Islands," added Clavijo, who inaugurated the new facilities of the "Canary Fruit Terminal" in the British port.

The president of the regional government, who attended the recent World Tourism Fair in London, has acknowledged that the tomato sector is being affected by the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU).

55% of Canary tomato exports are shipped to the British Isles, so the 20% devaluation of the pound is taking a toll on the sector's profits, he stated.

Moreover, the tomato industry has also been affected in recent years by other factors, such as competition from third countries, increased production costs, the stability of selling prices at destination and the arrival of pests, which made it necessary to change the seeds.

The head of the Canary Islands government has stressed that "it is essential to provide support and strengthen a sector that has been and should remain very important for the Canary economy."

"Our goal is to relaunch the sector in the medium and long term," assured Clavijo, who believes in the need to "secure the compensations for transport within the Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF) and ensure that the new central government guarantees compliance."

The president also referred to the strategic plan for the sector currently being developed, as well as to the creation of a differentiated brand for Canary tomatoes; elements which "should contribute to the sector's recovery," he predicted.

Source: EFE

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