Gert-Jan Slobbe from Fortuna Frutos in Barendrecht, the Netherlands, is optimistic. Two weeks ago, this company started importing tomatoes from the Canary Islands. "The Canarian tomato season is looking good. There will be slightly fewer round tomatoes available across the board. This is for the 2019-2020 winter season. In Morocco and Spain, there are fewer of these tomatoes. This shortage occurred because, there, they choose to focus less on round tomatoes. In that respect, I am hopeful."

It is warmer than usual thanks to this year's very hot spring and summer. The season, therefore, ended earlier in production countries such as the Netherlands and its neighbors. "This made for a good start for our tomatoes," says Gert-Jan. “Normally, November is a bit of a tough month. Imported and local products overlap. This overlap results in a surplus."

"This year's transition went well. We were not oversupplied with imported tomatoes. Local production has practically disappeared from the market too. This is certainly positive. It often happens that products from the Netherlands are still on the market in November. These tomatoes are also of good quality. They have now ended three weeks early. There are also fewer imports."

Production getting started
Fortuna Frutos imports TOVs, plum tomatoes, and round tomatoes from Spain. They have a permanent supplier there. From the Canary Islands, they get round tomatoes, plum tomatoes, and cucumbers. The company has ten more hectares of round tomatoes this year. This brings their total tomato acreage on the Canary Islands to 160 hectares.

Gert-Jan is pleased with the first arrivals. "We have been busy with Canarian tomatoes for two weeks now. Their quality is great, and they have a good setting. We have had no complaints so far. Production increases weekly. We are slowly reaching our normal level. Then, we easily import in the region of 100,000 - 125,000 packs of tomatoes a week.”

An extension of the grower
Fortuna Frutos has diverse sales markets. "We are well-represented in the retail and catering sectors. This representation is domestic as well as overseas, for example, in Scandinavia. We want to grow alongside our existing business partners. We want to do so by expanding our product assortment," explains the importer.

"We have a strong position with tomatoes in the winter. From here, we are trying to grow by adding other products. We are not a trading company. We import products directly and are an extension of the grower. We work closely with these people."

"In the summer, we work with Dutch cucumbers and tomato products. In this way, we can supply these products for 12 months of the year," continues Gert-Jan.

Positive boost
He ends his predictions for the season with a recap. "Recent seasons have not been good. Growers did not earn enough for their products. This is true for tomatoes and cucumbers. It is important to have a terrific year after the lean ones."

"Whether that be this year or not is not up to us. There are, after all, many factors at play. But we are happy for the farmers. This gives the start of the new import season a positive boost," concludes Slobbe.

For more information:
Gert-Jan Slobbe
Fortuna Frutos
17 Oslo
2993 LD Barendrecht, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 180 751 400