According to the European Commission's latest report on short-term prospects for agricultural markets in 2022, fresh tomato production will decrease while imports of this product will increase.
According to the recently published document, fresh tomato production in the EU will fall by 3% in 2022 over the previous year, totaling 6.2 million tons, maintaining the downward trend of recent years. Compared to the average of the last five years, production in 2022 will decrease by 5%.
Production will fall mainly because greenhouse production is expected to decrease due to the high cost of energy and because there's a switch from planted varieties to cherry tomatoes, according to the European Commission.
Annual consumption of fresh tomatoes in the EU will decrease by 2% over 2021. Per capita consumption will stand at 14.6 kilos per person a year.
The report states that alongside the decrease in production and consumption, there is also a decrease in Community exports of fresh tomatoes due to Brexit and the gradual loss of the United Kingdom market, which accounted for 75% of Community tomato exports in 2021. This loss of the market is due, as the Commission itself acknowledges, to increased competition from Morocco.
This year, fresh tomato imports will grow by 3% over 2021, totaling 730,000 tons, 23% more than the average of the last five years. In 2021, 67% of fresh tomato imports from the EU came from Morocco (the largest source of imports), followed by Turkey, which increased its share in the EU market (25% in 2021/ +5% compared to 2020).
FEPEX is concerned that, in view of this analysis, where the Commission acknowledges the decline in production, consumption, and export of tomatoes in the EU and the continued growth of imports, no measures are proposed to curb this trend and strengthen Community production.