Many Slovakian growers are restricting or completely stopping tomato production during the winter. High energy prices have forced them to shut down the heating required for greenhouse cultivation during the winter. The biggest resultant shortages are expected at the beginning of next year. To cover their expenses, farmers would have had to double the price per kilogram.
In previous winter seasons, one in three tomatoes sold in Slovakia was grown domestically. Now, given the steep rise in energy bills, the Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber (SPPK) expects the prices of all vegetables, including tomatoes, to increase by 20 to 30 percent. Last year, heating expenses for agricultural greenhouses were €60,000 per hectare; this year, they are expected to reach €400,000 per hectare.
If energy prices don't drop, local farmers will start planting tomatoes in the spring and will harvest the first crop in May. There is potential for a summer repeat of the scenario witnessed earlier this year when a sudden large surplus on the market caused prices to drop sharply.