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Tomato prices are returning to normal, mainly the Netherlands stands out

There is a bit of movement in tomato prices. What is striking is that in particular the Netherlands, the country with the low margins, is now the only one above the five-year average with an average price per kilo of 63 euro cents. A price that is on the same level as 2019 and that is also close to the five-year maximum.

Whether this revival in price can still make up for a 'bleak' season, is the question. After all, productions are only declining and the moment is near when there will be pressure on the market from supply from the South.

Click here to enlarge. The purple line is the Dutch price average. That was before week 35 (that is as far as the European figures are known), higher than in the other countries (Spain, Italy and France).

The Netherlands
Prices in the Netherlands started to rise from week 33, with an average just below one euro in week 35, a price level that was last reached at the end of April.

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This does not mean that all of a sudden everything is well for the whole of 2020, but the price increase will ensure that the average for this year will again exceed the five-year average. That was still different in mid-August. On average, a kilo of tomatoes yielded 63 euro cents up to and including week 35. Over the past five years that was 54 euro cents.

In Spain, the season will really start again this month, with again a shrunken acreage, an estimate of eight to ten percent in Almería. The average price will also fall for 2020, by another 2 cents to 57 cents for a kilo.

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This further decline in average price deviates from the five-year average, which usually started to rise again in August.

Compared to 2019, the gap in prices between 2019 and 2020 is really large. An average of 95 eurocents was achieved in 2019, in 2020 that is almost 40 eurocents lower.

In Italy, the average has risen slightly with 3 eurocents compared to July this year, but this means that the average is still well below the five-year average.

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Prices are, on average, slightly higher than in 2019, when in August 71 cents was reached. This year that is 76 cents.

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The European Commission does not keep any graphs of the tomato figures from Belgium. Nevertheless, based on the figures from the Association of Horticultural Auctions and the Belgian statistics agency Statbel, a picture can be formed of price development this summer.

The last full week of August, week 35, the Belgian clocks yielded an average of 24 eurocents for loose tomatoes and 22 eurocents for vine tomatoes. These were lower averages than in weeks 34 and 33, in which prices slowly declined from roughly 30-40 cents. "All countries are in full production, so the market is flooded", was the conclusion of Benny Cuypers of BelOrta in mid-August.

July was bad too: The index for the prices that growers received for their tomatoes in July was not even half of that in 2019. July 2020 was reported by Statbel at 55.98, where it was 123.52 in the same month in 2019. Also June and May already were lower than last year.

Click here for an enlargement of the indices for 2020, and those for the past five years.

Week 36, which falls outside the European overviews, showed a price increase again on the VBT clocks. Loose yielded 36 cents (compared to 24 cents in week 35), TOVs 27 cents (compared to 22 in week 35).

While France was often the positive outlier in this disappointing year, this was not the case in August. Also in France the 2020 average dips below the five-year average, by 1 eurocent.

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It's typical for a difficult tomato year. In the summer months of June, July and August, below-average prices were recorded, whereby in August the price of 68 cents on average is inching closer to the five-year minimum price of 61 cents.

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