The tomato from the greenhouses of Almeria is not going through its best moment. This season is a reflection of the difficult situation that this crop is facing due to the increasingly greater competition in the market. According to data analyzed by the Territorial Delegation of Agriculture, the area devoted to this crop in the province has fallen dramatically from almost 12,000 hectares a few years ago to less than 8,400 hectares.
Production costs are higher than the competitions' costs and prices are not compensating an activity that requires large investments in the province of Almería. In fact, according to the data available to the Association of Young Farmers (Asaja) of Almeria, in February the tomato achieved its worst prices in the last decade.
"We are facing the worst month of February in recent years. It is evident if you observe how prices have been evolving every day. The price of the pear-type tomato this February has been 26% lower than its average price in February of the last ten years (0.41 euro), as so far this month its average price stands at 0.30 euro," said Adoracion Blanque, the secretary-general of Asaja. Meanwhile, according to Asaja data, the price of branch tomatoes this month is 16% below its usual price, averaging 0.45 euro so far, she stated.
Loose tomatoes, which usually cost an average of 0.40 euro in February, are being sold at just 28 cents, which's 31% lower than the normal average, the agrarian organization stated.
"It's not possible to maintain a tomato farm with these prices. That's why fewer and fewer producers decide to grow a product that has been a brand of Almeria for many years. The weight that the province has in tomato exports is decreasing. High costs are diminishing the always lower profitability, which at times like now is non-existent," Blanque stated.
Asaja understands that to change the situation, exports must comply with trade agreements and they must avoid market saturation.