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Réunion: Tomato producers working at a loss

Another hard blow for Réunion growers after the sanitary crisis: tomato prices are dropping sharply, a considerable loss for producers who have invested upstream.

Tomato prices at their lowest
Farmers who sold their tomatoes at 6 euros/kg [7 USD/kg] a few months ago now see the prices drop considerably. Produced in large quantities, the tomatoes are now flooding the market stalls and selling for less than 1 euro/kg [1.2 USD/kg]. Although this is making customers very happy, the financial impact is significant for the producers: they are working at a loss.

Customers are making the most of it
On the Saint-Pierre market, 1 kg of tomatoes only costs 69 euro cents [0.80 USD], which is two to three times cheaper than a few weeks ago. “They were at 4.50€/kg [5.2 USD/kg] a month ago,” according to a satisfied customer.

The situation is the same on the wholesale market. All the professionals who get their supply of fruit and vegetables there are noting the drastic drop in tomato prices. “Two months ago, a crate still cost 100 euros [116 USD]! The prices have dropped, and when they are so low, the tomatoes do not sell.”

Overproduction means a loss of income for the producers
How did the price for a kg of tomatoes go from 6€ [7 USD] last month to less than 1 euro [1.2 USD] today? It is the game of supply and demand. The producers are overproducing, and partly due to the crisis and the closure of restaurants there is a surplus of tomatoes. 

Producer Matthieu Lauret knows all about nature’s hazards, and in spite of the losses, he remains positive: “These were the consequences: we earned less. But we will make do. Some days are better than others, it is farming, it is nature. We make do with what we’re dealt with!”

With the arrival of summer on Reunion island, some productions will stop. Selling prices should go back up within 3 to 4 weeks. 


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