Improved conditions for access to water resources after recent rainfall are positively influencing expectations for the upcoming tomatoes processing crops in the Mediterranean region and California. According to an initial World Processing Tomato Council (Wptc) survey, which also considers indications of planting intentions, the current estimate is for 5.7 million tonnes to be contracted in Italy this year. In the south, the reservoirs are full so everyone is optimistic there will be enough water while in the north more snow is still needed to guarantee there will be enough water for the season. Price negotiations have started but there are no agreements yet: the initial offer by processors of 126 euros per tonne ex field was rejected by POs who requested 155 euros.
The water availability has improved in Extremadura although it remains lower than in previous years, probably at 80% of needs if it rains. In Andalusia, however, the situation is worst than last year with even less water in the reservoirs than in 2022. It is therefore difficult to make a forecast now but if Andalusia remains down production of about 2.6 million tonnes of tomatoes can be expected. Farmers are asking for a price increase (165 euros currently).
As farmers in the south did not get the return they expected from cotton in 2022, they are keener to plant tomatoes so the region should recover the volumes lost. Negotiations will start when the large processing companies have given their price offers. The current estimate is 2.35 million tonnes.
There was a lot of rain so water should not be an issue for this crop. Despite limited cost increases, growers who want to benefit from good market conditions are asking for higher contract prices. There is no price agreement yet and the deadline for reporting contracts is being extended to mid-March probably. The current estimate is between 1.4 and 1.45 million tonnes.
According to the 2023 California Processing Tomato Report released by NASS on 25 January, as of January, California’s tomato processors reported they have, or will have, contracts for 12.4 million short tons (11.249 million metric tonnes) in 2023, which is an increase of 18% compared to 10.5 million contracted short tons (9.5 million metric tonnes) forecast in the August 2022 California Processing Tomato Report. Processors estimate that the contracted production for 2023 will come from 248,000 acres, generating an average yield of 50.0 short tons per acre (c.113 t/ha). The contracted planted acreage forecast is 8% higher than the 2022 acreage of 229,000 reported under contract in August.