Ketchup at risk from climate change?

Processing tomato production expected to drop by 2050 due to temperature increases

The global production of processing tomatoes is concentrated in a small number of regions where climate change could have a notable impact on the future supply. Process-based tomato models project that the production in the main producing countries (the United States, Italy, and China, representing 65% of global production) will decrease by 6% by 2050 compared with the baseline period of 1980–2009.

The predicted reduction in processing tomato production is due to a projected increase in air temperature. Under an ensemble of projected climate scenarios, California and Italy might not be able to sustain current levels of processing tomato production due to water resource constraints. Cooler producing regions, such as China and the northern parts of California, stand to improve their competitive advantage. The projected environmental changes indicate that the main growing regions of processing tomatoes might change in the coming decades.

Ketchup shortages?
Ketchup is made from so-called processing tomatoes, which are predominantly cultivated in California, Italy, and China, all of which are at risk from global warming. A team of researchers led by Aarhus University in Denmark has now created a mathematical model to see how different climate change scenarios would affect production.

Dr. Davide Cammarano, the lead author of the study from Aarhus University: “The threat of climate change is significant, especially because the type of tomato we dealt with in this study (processing tomatoes that are field grown and mechanically harvested) requires irrigation. It is likely that more water will be needed to keep a profitable production in the future. This has important implications because water is something that is going to be less available for agriculture in some of the areas considered in this study.”



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