Europe needs more fruit and vegetables. This means there might be an opportunity for Africa to step up production to fill the gap. While many experts and analysts attribute the shortage to poor weather conditions in southern Europe and North Africa, others argue that the problem of reduced supply is more significant than the weather. Moreover, some experts predict that the challenges will be short-lived as farmers respond to higher prices and the emergence of new supply sources.
But they must consider why one of the largest producers, like the Netherlands scaled down the production. And that there is more to it. Dutch farmers grow their tomatoes under greenhouses covering almost 100 km2 to light the crops. By value, the Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of food behind the United States. But the war in Ukraine aggravated the energy costs forcing the farmers out of competition during winter.
Africa could not respond to the shortage crisis due to stringent compliance requirements with several regulations and standards designed to ensure that the tomatoes meet the required quality and safety standards.
However, Morocco, Egypt, and Nigeria are among the largest producers of tomatoes in Africa. This calls for other countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), to also step up their production for export by following the required international standards.